A 75-year-old woman was walking alone with a cane across East Broad Street near North Ninth Street in Richmond on Aug. 31, 2020.
Not long after she reached the sidewalk, a man who walked past her suddenly turned around, walked up and struck her. The blow propelled her to the pavement, as the man pointed his arm at her and walked away.
Less than two hours later, a 48-year-old woman was seated on a GRTC Pulse bus when the same man rose from his seat behind her and struck her without warning, causing a bump to the head.
The man then immediately pretended he had fallen in the bus aisle, as if he hit the woman by accident, authorities said.
Both attacks were recorded on surveillance video, and Richmond police eventually linked those assaults to similar random attacks on two other unsuspecting women in July 2020.
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More than two years after the last attack, a Richmond Circuit Court jury deliberated about three hours last week before returning guilty verdicts against Marvin Maurice Moore, 39, in all four cases.
He was found guilty of malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding and two counts of assault and battery. Moore was charged with a fifth attack in Henrico County that occurred the same day as two of the Richmond assaults, but a Henrico jury acquitted him of malicious wounding in that case.
Because Moore still awaits sentencing, Richmond Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Christine Cestaro, who prosecuted the case with Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nathan Hittle, could not comment on the trial until after Moore receives punishment. He is to be sentenced on Jan. 5.
But in court papers filed in advance of Moore’s trial, Cestaro noted that during each of the four attacks in Richmond, Moore targeted an unsuspecting woman he encountered in public and, without warning or provocation, violently struck each one.
In two of the cases, Moore feigned the attack was an accident and acted as if he tripped or fell after striking the victims.
The first of the four Richmond attacks occurred on July 17, 2020, as a 16-year-old female was seated at a table inside the Taco Bell on Azalea Avenue. As she sat alone looking down at her cellphone, a man later identified as Moore rose from his seat and grabbed a heavy metal chair. He then walked a few steps toward her and “inexplicably lifted the chair to his shoulders and hit the victim hard atop her head,” Cestaro wrote.
The victim’s father, who had been waiting for food at the front counter, confronted Moore, “who then squared off in a fighting stance.”
Four days later, a 25-year-old woman was seated alone on a GRTC Pulse bus with a man, later identified as Moore, in front of her. As she was looking down at her cellphone, Moore started to rise from his seat when he forcefully elbowed her in the head, chest and throat. When she looked up at him, Moore acted like he had fallen. After she momentarily looked down at her phone again, Moore struck her hard a second time with the back of his arm to her head.
The attack on the 25-year-old was the most violent of the four assaults, which resulted in the most serious charge against Moore.
“The four attacks … are idiosyncratic in that [Moore] committed each one in an eerily similar, frightening manner,” Cestaro wrote. “First, he targeted women. Second, he subjected all four victims to what amounts to an elevated ‘sucker punch,’ striking each unsuspecting victim in the head. Third, he pretended three of the attacks were unintentional. Fourth, two attacks occurred within hours of each other on the same date. And finally, two attacks occurred on GRTC pulse buses, with [Moore] and the victim positioned in nearly identical bus seats with an identical manner of attack.”
Early in the case, a psychologist determined that Moore was competent to stand trial after his attorney asked that his client undergo a mental health examination.
At trial, Moore’s defense was that in two of the cases, he accidentally struck the victims and in two others he was misidentified as the assailant. The two victims who were attacked on GRTC buses testified against him.