A San Mateo man serving 25 years to life in prison for the lengthy 1986 fatal beating and strangulation of his girlfriend is suitable for parole, a commission decided Friday.
The Board of Parole Hearings granted Ronald Joe Moore, 63, an immediate parole date which sends his case to Sacramento for review and possible gubernatorial approval. San Mateo County prosecutors had objected to releasing Moore, who was convicted in June 1988 of first-degree murder and torture in the death of Claire Miller.
Moore had denied responsibility for Miller's Nov. 10, 1986 death during his 11-day trial but jurors found him guilty of beating her for hours and strangling her inside the San Mateo motel where they lived. Miller suffered "extreme pain and suffering” from the hours of torture, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Miller and Moore were staying at the Royal Lodge when, in the morning hours, a woman in a neighboring room was awakened by screams and the sound of a woman pleading "God, somebody please help me,” according to court records. Other occupants also reported hearing pleas to stop for up to six hours before Miller's death along with glass breaking and thumping sounds like a body falling or hitting a wall.
Officers responding just before 2 p.m. found Miller unresponsive and without a pulse. She was declared brain dead two hours later.
Moore helped the officer administer CPR until medics arrived. He told the officer he had left the room while Miller prostituted herself and found her unconscious with the door ajar upon his return. Police were suspicious of Moore in part because he had unusually long fingernails that could have caused two crescent-shaped wounds on Miller's throat, according to court records. He later admitted arguing and struggling with her during which she hit her head.
During trial, a defense expert testified Moore may have suffered from cocaine-induced transient psychosis and Moore testified the couple had smoked crack on and off for three days prior to her death and again before the argument.
Moore had no prison rules violations while incarcerated which was considered by the parole board, Wagstaffe said.
Michelle Durand can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.