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Indianapolis Man Sentenced To 77 Years In Prison For Bloomington Murder
Updated May 9, 2017 8:15 AM | Filed under: Crime
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From left to right: Dennis Webb, Johnny Moore, and Billie Jean Edison

(BLOOMINGTON) - Johnny T. Moore was sentenced to 77 years in prison Monday for the death of 28-year-old Brittany Sater.

31-year-old Moore of Indianapolis says he will appeal his conviction.

A jury found Moore guilty of murder, burglary and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury in April. Moore admitted to being the driver in the shooting death.

Monroe Circuit Court Judge Teresa Harper sentenced him to 65 years for the murder and 12 years for the burglary. The sentences will be served consecutively, so Moore will serve 77 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

On August 28, 2016 Sater bled to death in a hospital room hours after she was shot. She died nine hours after a high-velocity bullet from an SKS rifle destroyed her liver, causing her to bleed to death.

Moore told police after his arrest that he only went to Sater's house to sell her 40 grams of heroin and did not plan or participate in the murder.

Police also arrested 42-year-old Billie Jean Edison and 21-year-old Dennis Webb. Bloomington Police believe Webb was the one that pulled the trigger.

Edison and Webb each face burglary and murder charges. Webb's trial is set for July and the court has not yet scheduled Edison's trial date.

The 31-year-old man said he will appeal his convictions for murder and for the robbery and burglary that resulted in 26-year-old Sater being shot to death by another man at her duplex on Bloomington's south side.

Sater's mother, Deanna Hawkins, testified during the sentencing hearing about the loss of her daughter and asked the judge to impose a lengthy prison term. "You took something precious from us, and I hope you get the maximum sentence," Hawkins said as family members cried in the courtroom and Moore talked to his lawyer, ignoring the grieving mother.

"And I ask the Lord to forgive me for not forgiving you because I hate you so much."

Moore never looked her way.

Moore spoke briefly before Harper imposed the sentence, saying he was wrongly convicted. "I don't even know these people, but it is what it is and what happens, happens," he said. "I'm sorry y'all lost your family member, but I'm gonna lose my family, too, and I didn't do anything."

Investigators said Moore ordered two others -- whose murder cases are pending -- to go to Sater's house and rob her of heroin and money. He stayed in his car in a nearby parking lot, he said, unaware of what was happening inside Sater's home.

42-year-old Billie Jean Edison of Greenwood is represented by Bloomington attorneys Ron Chapman and Will Spaulding, appointed by the court to oversee her case. A pretrial hearing is set for June 12. She testified against Moore, and said that it was 21-year-old Dennis Dior Webb of Indianapolis who shot Sater in the stomach with a rifle.

Webb's jury trial is set for July 24; he is represented by Monroe County Public Defender Stu Baggerly. All three defendants faced the same charges from the August 2016 incident: murder and burglary and robbery resulting in serious injury.

Judge Harper cited Moore's long criminal history, dating back to when he was a juvenile, as an aggravating circumstance. She said his drug-dealing lifestyle -- he has multiple cocaine-selling convictions from Lake County -- combined with his disrespect for authority were further reasons to not give him a break.

The felony murder and robbery charges merged, and Moore got the maximum 65-year sentence. Harper added 12 years for burglary onto that. With credit for good behavior, Moore could be released from prison in 57 years. He shook his head back and forth when the judge announced the 77 years, continuing to talk to his Glen Koch, his lawyer.

Koch told the judge his client did not order Sater's murder. He asked for a reduced sentence because his client "has many young children dependent on him." His youngest was born just days before Sater was killed.

"There's nothing here to show any hardship on your family," Harper said.

After the hearing, Hawkins said justice had been served, and that her feelings are mixed. Yes, it felt good to see Moore held accountable for orchestrating the events that caused her daughter's murder. But the pain of the loss will never go away. She will follow the cases of Webb and Edison, praying they, too, go to prison for a long time.

Monroe County resident James Allen was in court on Monday to see Moore get sentenced. As one of two alternate jurors who heard testimony last month during the four-day trial, he was not allowed to participate in the deliberations that found Moore guilty.

He said that process didn't take long. "We had lunch first, and then they went around and everyone stated what they thought the verdict should be and the main reason behind it. Everyone said 'guilty,'" he said. "It probably took about 15 minutes."

He came to Monday's sentencing hearing with Brittany Sater on his mind. "To see it through to the end," he said. "And to give her mom a hug," which he did as he left the courtroom.

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