Man sentenced for causing accident that killed his cousin

CASSOPOLIS — A Cassopolis man will be spending the next 13 years in prison after being sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court for reckless driving causing death.

Willie Demetrius Moore, 36, of Crooked Creek Road in Cassopolis, pleaded guilty to reckless driving causing death as a habitual offender and was sentenced to 13 years to 30 years in prison. He must pay $1,470 in fines and costs and forfeit any weapons and ammunition. He has credit for four days served.

Moore also pleaded guilty to five felonies from another incident last year and was sentenced to five prison terms of three years to 10 years. Those counts were for possession of meth, two counts of possession of firearms by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon and carrying a concealed weapon-all as a habitual offender. He has credit for three days served and must pay $2,698.

All the prison terms are concurrent with each other. Moore was out on bond at the time of Friday’s sentencings and was ordered to turn himself in to the Cass County Jail.

The drugs and weapons incident occurred Aug. 18, 2020, in downtown Vandalia when he fired a number of shots, He was later stopped and found to have drugs, ammunition and drugs in
his vehicle.

The reckless driving incident occurred Aug. 31, 2020, when he got in an accident at Brownsville and Highfield Roads near Cassopolis. That accident injured and ended up killing his cousin, Marcus Moore.

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman called Moore’s actions after the Aug. 31 accident “despicable.”

“You didn’t call an ambulance, but you did call your girlfriend to take you to the hospital,” he said. “You didn’t call in the accident, and I don’t agree that this was the quickest way to the hospital.”

“In my opinion, these were selfish actions of not calling 9-1-1 and could have cost the life of your cousin,” the judge added. “This killing of your cousin occurred less than two weeks after you posted bond in the other case. Instead of taking that case seriously, you acted like the criminal system is a big joke to you. Unfortunately, your cousin had to pay the ultimate sacrifice for your selfish actions.”

Judge Herman took issue with defense attorney Paul Jancha’s description of Moore as a young man.

“You’re 36 years of age. You’re no longer young, youth is no longer an excuse,” the judge said. “You’re more than old enough to not use your age as an excuse … It’s time to grow up and take this seriously.”

The judge noted that Moore has an extensive criminal record including 12 felony and 19 misdemeanor convictions. Moore has also had previous prison sentences.

Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert called Moore’s behavior in not calling 9-1-1 “appalling.”

“His most recent behavior is the most shocking,” Hubbert said. “He’s first arrested for firing guns and stopped with meth, then a few days later he’s out drinking and partying and caused a car wreck where the victim died from his injuries.”

For his part, Moore said he made
a mistake.

“I wish I could take everything back that happened, I’m so sorry for the family,” he said. “I want to be a changed person. I just wish this would never have happened at all. I wish I could take it all back.”

Buchanan

Buchanan commission approves two beautification projects

Buchanan

Buchanan commission votes ‘no’ on ducks, reconsiders future with Niles chamber

Local Government

Niles City Council approves Riverfest, fireworks

Business

Open air market coming to The NODE beginning in July

Business

Ice cream shop opens on M-62 in Edwardsburg

Giving

Niles Burn Run returns this month for 20th ride

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 892,469 cases, 19,548 deaths

Dowagiac

SMC Board of Trustees adopts 2021-22 budgets

Berrien County

South Bend man gets prison for robbery of Niles business

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac Elks celebrate Flag Day

Edwardsburg

Motorcyclist injured in Edwardsburg crash

News

PHOTO STORY: Niles Summer Concert Series kicks off with Bob Seger tribute band

News

Niles Police Log: June 2-9

Buchanan

PHOTO STORY: Buchanan High School graduates Class of 2021

News

Hit-and-run injures Niles woman

News

Niles natives collaborate on song

Dowagiac

Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac visit Dowagiac Rotary

Cass County

Two sentenced on meth charges in Cass County Court

Edwardsburg

Drugs found in Ontwa Township residence

Dowagiac

Annual Sister Lakes wakeboard tournament to return in August

Cass County

Homeless man gets jail time for stealing vehicle in Dowagiac

Berrien County

Illinois man dead, Benton Harbor teen arrested after two vehicle Oronoko Township crash Monday

Dowagiac

Long-lost friends, Navy veterans reunite after 58 years

Berrien County

Honor Credit Union announces Tracy Sanders as VP of operations