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Toledo man sentenced to life in 2021 shooting deaths of girlfriend's children

Judge Eric Marks rejected the defense's argument that Kevin Moore was not guilty by reason of insanity.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A Lucas County judge found Kevin Moore guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault for the 2021 shooting that killed two children and wounded another.

Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Eric Marks ruled Thursday that Moore, 29, of Toledo, did not meet the standards to be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

"Dr. Sherman testified that, while he truly believed that Mr. Moore was suffering a psychotic episode at the time of the shooting, he was not suffering from the kind of severe defect that would prevent him from knowing the wrongfulness of pulling that trigger," Marks said, referencing testimony from an expert who interviewed Moore.

Marks sentenced Moore to life in prison without parole for the murder convictions, as well as 10 years for attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Before sentencing, the prosecution brought in the grandmother of the victims, Judy Price, who had someone read a statement she had written.

In her letter, she called Moore a "monster" who stole two of her grandchildren, talked about the long road to recovery for her third and asked for justice for her family.

"I was not prepared to witness what this monster had done to my grandbabies," Price's letter said. "After that night, I was not prepared for the trauma this monster has caused me. It's still hard to talk about it to this day. But if living my own personal pain as a grandma and guilt lets the court see what this man has put my family through, and see just how much he has cost my family, then I hope the court gives this man the maximum punishment allowed in the judicial system."

The victims -- five-year-old Ahmir Phillips and one-year-old Gabriel Phillips -- died from multiple gunshot wounds. The third child, four-year-old Ashtan Phillips, was critically injured but survived.

Moore's defense attorney has argued that his client was not legally sane when he shot the three boys in south Toledo in February 2021.

Moore left a fourth child -- a girl -- unharmed, which was critical to the defense's argument.

During Moore's trial, the defense claimed the three boys were picking on the young girl and Moore wanted to protect her, triggering a schizophrenic episode that led to him grabbing the boys and shooting them in the head.

The defense insisted Moore wasn't in control of his actions. They called an expert to testify who told the court Moore's mental illnesses were so severe he was legally insane at the time of the crime. They made reference to incidents where Moore was seen playing with feces, felt things crawling on his skin and thought a television was sending him secret messages.

Prosecutors also called a psychologist and psychiatrist who had extensively interviewed Moore after the shooting to testify. Both professionals told the court that Moore is a severely mentally ill individual, but that he did know what he was doing when he shot the three children.

At the end of the trial, Marks said he would honor the defense's request to look for a prison facility that can help treat Moore's schizophrenia so that his remaining years spent in prison are at least productive.

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