Resentencing delayed for convicted murderer
Moye described ‘chaotic upbringing’
BEDFORD — A judge opted Thursday to delay resentencing of a state prisoner who, as a juvenile, killed a woman in January 2015 during a drug deal in Woodbury.
The now 20-year-old Deauntay Dontaz Moye pleaded guilty to murdering 21-year-old Stephanie Waters in 2016 and was initially given a life sentence without parole
from Judge Travis Livengood.
Moye has been housed at the State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove.
When he was 16, Moye and Ryan James Hardwick, then 15, met Waters at a Woodbury parking lot to buy marijuana, according to a police complaint.
Moye then allegedly shot Waters twice, and Hardwick shot her dog.
Both of them then reportedly left Waters in the back seat of her car and drove the car throughout the county, smoking marijuana.
Hardwick pleaded guilty in 2016 to assisting with Waters’ murder.
Hardwick was sentenced to at least 60 years in prison before parole.
Sally Harr, Waters’ mother, addressed Moye in court on Wednesday and told him that he and Hardwick were the last people to touch her daughter’s “warm body.”
She said the last sight of Waters was of her wrapped in plastic, with broken legs, hair matted with blood and two bullet holes at the back of her head.
“You made a choice that changed all of our lives forever,” Harr said to Moye. “God didn’t do this. The devil did.”
“It’s like being dead but barely able to breathe,” she said of losing her daughter.
Harr shared with the court that she struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares and contemplated suicide. However, promises to her daughter that Harr wouldn’t hurt herself and that she would get justice for Waters’ death stopped her.
Harr added she would fight to keep Moye imprisoned for what he did, but forgave him for his crimes.
“Forgiveness doesn’t mean I will forget you put two bullets at the back of her head and took her away from me,” Harr said, before sitting down and clutching a small dog wrapped in a blanket to her chest.
The Superior Court ordered resentencing hearings for both Moye and Hardwick after new sentencing laws, which only allow a life sentence without parole for juvenile killers if there is a heavy presumption a juvenile is “irreparably corrupt” and cannot be rehabilitated.
Pittsburgh clinical psychiatrist Bruce Wright, who evaluated Moye twice, told the court Wednesday that he cannot say whether or not Moye is “irreparably corrupt.”
“I can’t predict how he will be in 30 years,” Wright said.
Wright gave Moye a prognosis of conduct disorder, often a precursor of antisocial personality disorder and commented on the defendant’s “chaotic upbringing” and lack of family support and supervision.
In interviews with Moye, Wright said the defendant told him he grew up as a “corner boy” in Baltimore, selling drugs and participating in gun play. Moye allegedly started smoking marijuana at age 9 and drinking alcohol at age 13, progressing his substance abuse to use of opioids.
Moye also reportedly shared he had a strained relationship with his mother and limited contact with his father.
During Wright’s review of Moye’s family history, some of the defendant’s family members, including his mother and stepfather, laughed and scoffed at the allegations. His mother repeatedly called the family history allegations “lies” before Livengood instructed the family to step out of the courtroom.
Moye’s family did not want to comment about the case.
Wright added Moye showed some positive and negative indicators of possible rehabilitation, commenting on how Moye got into a couple of fights in state prison, but also participated in therapeutic and leadership programs there.
Moye reportedly told Wright he has grown up a lot since the 2015 incident and is a “changed individual” who hopes to be home at a reasonable age. When asked by Livengood if he wanted to give a statement, Moye replied, “No, sir,” before being escorted out of court in handcuffs.
Livengood gave both District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts and Moye’s defense attorney, Karen Ritchey, 30 days to file briefs. He said he is unsure if he will hold another court proceeding or just submit an opinion on the case.