A 31-year-old veteran was convicted Wednesday of gunning down a transient in an Anaheim park three years ago.
Adam Jay Stone of Anaheim was convicted of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a gun for killing 29-year-old Alexander McMoore on Jan. 7, 2015, at Twila Reid Park. He faces up to 50 years to life in prison, with sentencing scheduled for June 29.
Co-defendant Ransom Lewis Cook, 27, previously pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and was sentenced to time served in jail.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy said Cook and Stone, who met in the Army reserves, drank a beer at Cook’s home in Westminster prior to the 4:50 p.m. shooting. Cook was giving Stone a ride home when the defendant said he wanted to take a quick detour to the park to “see a friend,” the prosecutor said.
As Stone got out of the car, Cook “immediately hears two shots,” McGreevy told jurors. The defendant got back into the car and told his friend to “drive,” the prosecutor said.
When Cook asked him what happened, Stone said, “I took care of it,” and added that McMoore had “punked me,” according to McGreevy.
The two drove back to Cook’s home, where Cook handed the .38-caliber revolver used in the shooting over to another friend. Cook then told his co-defendant “you’ve got to go,” and Stone rode away on his skateboard, the prosecutor said.
A witness had jotted down the license plate of Cook’s car at the shooting scene, helping police quickly track down Stone at a liquor store near Cook’s home and arrest him, McGreevy said.
Stone’s attorney, Rob Flory, told jurors that his client served two tours of duty in Iraq, volunteering to run dangerous convoy missions in the war-torn country.
Stone has been diagnosed with PTSD and was “medicating” himself with heavy drinking and smoking marijuana at the park daily because his mother said she did not want him using the drug at her home, Flory said.
While at the park near his home, he encountered the victim, a transient whose “street name” was Buddha, Flory said. McMoore, who wore his hair in a Mohawk style, had a reputation for violence and brandishing a gun, according to Flory, who said McMoore had multiple tattoos “designed to evoke fear. Buddha relished that… He liked to throw his weight around.”
McMoore “robbed” Stone of his marijuana shortly before the shooting, Flory said. The next time Stone went to the park, he did not bring extra marijuana and when McMoore demanded the drug from him, Stone said he didn’t have any more, Flory said.
That prompted McMoore to warn Stone that if he came back to the park, he would attack him, Flory claimed. He said his client decided that he would return to the park with a gun to scare off McMoore, but had to give up his guns following a violent incident with an Orange County Transportation Authority bus driver who had questioned Stone’s veteran status as the defendant tried to use it for a free pass.
Stone handed over his guns to Cook, who returned one of the guns to Stone when he asked for it the day of the shooting, Flory said.
When Stone got out of Cook’s car at the park, Stone and McMoore quickly “locked eyes,” and McMoore reached for his waistband, prompting Stone to pull out his weapon and open fire, Flory said.
Stone’s PTSD made him “hypervigilant,” which led to the violent conflict, his attorney said.