An East Bernstadt woman who is facing multiple federal charges for allegedly stealing two vehicles in July 2018 before robbing two Laurel County banks at gunpoint was set to have her case presented to a jury at trial this week, but it has now been continued at the request of her attorney as plea negotiations continue.
The jury trial for Jennifer L. Moore, 50, was scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in London, though the judge presiding over the case filed an order last week pushing the trial off until July. Court documents show that U.S. District Judge Robert E. Weir continued the trial following a motion by Moore’s attorney, Willis Coffey, late last month asking that the trial be set aside for 45 days.
Coffey’s motion to continue states that prosecutors have provided Moore with a written offer in exchange for her guilty plea, but that Moore requested certain changes be made to that offer, which are now being considered by prosecutors.
Another factor listed by Coffey in his motion for the continuance is in regards to Moore’s mental health, something that has allegedly been a concern since at least earlier this year. Coffey entered a motion in the case in January asking that Moore undergo a mental health examination, which was granted, with the examination later being performed at a federal prison in Houston, Texas.
A psychiatric report concerning Moore’s examination was filed with the court upon its completion, but it was placed under seal and the contents cannot be examined.
However, Coffey’s latest request to continue the trial alludes to information provided to the court from that examination, stating that psychologists who evaluated Moore during the examination found that she allegedly suffered from “a severe mental defect or disease” at the time of the alleged offense. For that reason, Coffey states in his motion that he requires additional time to discuss a possible plea with Moore.
“In all candor, Ms. Moore’s mental status has impacted the plea negotiations. In short, more time is needed for counsel to help Ms. Moore more fully understand the plea offer (once in its final draft) and the impact of her decision,” reads Coffey’s motion.
With no objections offered by prosecutors, Judge Weir sustained Coffey’s motion and set a new trial date for July 1 at 9:30 a.m.
The order also states that in the event that a plea agreement is reached, it must be done so by at least 14 days before the new trial date.
A similar request was made by Coffey previously, asking for a 45-day continuance of an April 5 trial date to allow for further plea negotiations. That motion was also sustained in an order by Judge Weir the day before the trial was scheduled to begin. At least two other trial dates have been set during the lifespan of the trial, with the initial trial being set for November 2018.
Moore was arrested July 19, 2018, after officers with the London Police Department were dispatched to investigate a call concerning an armed robbery at Forcht Bank off KY-192, but within minutes of their departure another call was received about an armed robbery at Cumberland Valley National Bank inside the London Shopping Center.
According to police, witnesses called in to the Laurel Dispatch Center to inform them of what kind of vehicle had been seen leaving the scene and the direction it was headed. Police found the vehicle that had been described at Calvary Baptist Church, where the driver, identified as Moore, allegedly fled on foot.
She was quickly caught and taken into custody. Police allegedly found her to be in possession of a 9 mm pistol, which was believed to be used during the robberies. It was also later determined that the vehicle Moore used during the alleged robberies had been reportedly stolen earlier that day. In addition, police learned that Moore had also stolen another vehicle at gunpoint earlier in the month.
Moore was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in August 2018 on two counts of motor vehicle theft – carjacking, two counts of carry/use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and two counts of bank robbery by force or violence.
Moore was jailed in the Laurel County Detention Center until January, when she was transported to the examination facility in Houston. Local jail records do not indicate whether or not she has returned.