A Dayton man who shot a co-worker at the Dayton VA Medical Center in May was sentenced Friday to 5 ½ years in prison during a hearing in which his victim asked the court for leniency.
Neil Moore, 59, of Trotwood pleaded guilty Sept. 12 to carrying a .38 caliber revolver into the VA and shooting Paul Burnside in the leg. He received the sentence, which was recommended as part of the plea deal, at the U.S. Courthouse.
“I just want to say that everything that happened wasn’t intended, especially the harm I’ve done to Mr. Burnside,” Moore told the court. “I’d like to say I’m sorry. I regret what has happened.”
Burnside, who suffered a broken leg, asked the court for leniency for Moore.
“I’ve known Mr. Moore for 14 years. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think he made a mistake,” Burnside said. “During the scuffle, I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Moore confronted several VA workers May 5 while they were playing cards in a break room of Building 330 of the hospital at 4100 W. Third Street in Dayton. Prosecutors said Moore wielded the weapon and said, “Don’t mess with my family.”
Moore’s intent was to “hold the ex-co-workers at gunpoint while he punched them with his right hand,” according to court documents.
Moore, who has no criminal history, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1977, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by his attorney. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years before his honorable medical discharge in 1977. He worked at the VA as a housekeeping aide for 27 years and retired in October 2013.
“He had gotten to the point where he had been off his meds for years, and it was a delusion that caused him to do this to his friend,” Moore’s attorney, Frank Malocu, said.
Judge Thomas Rose said making a decision on the sentence was difficult because of the nature of the crime and Moore’s personal history.
“This was obviously a very serious offense and a very dangerous one,” Rose said in addressing Moore. “It took place in a facility where people usually go to seek help and comfort. But you have no criminal history, and it is the court’s understanding that you’ve had some concerns with mental illness. These factors cause the court some dilemma.”
Moore faced a maximum sentence of 10 years for the crime, but Rose ultimately followed the recommended sentence in the plea deal.
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