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xx Moore said he toyed with investigators
« Reply #15 on: Jun 24th, 2007, 1:15pm »

By Chuck Lindell

The last time Michael Keith Moore surfaced in public, he was expected to admit to kidnapping and killing Rachel Cooke, whose 2002 disappearance still haunts her family and Williamson County.

But Moore, serving life sentences for a 2003 murder, pleaded not guilty in November in the Cooke case — reneging on a deal with prosecutors and dragging the Cooke family through another round of bitter disappointment.

Now Moore, in his first prison interview since that surprise plea, said he was telling the truth when he pleaded not guilty. He claims he duped investigators because he was getting special treatment in prison, including extra visits with his ex-wife and having prison infractions wiped off his record, as long as he cooperated.

Investigators, calling Moore a born manipulator, aren't buying his story.

Cooke's father isn't sure what to think.

"It's kind of hard to tell with this guy. He's probably a compulsive liar. He's a predator, and that's part of the way he goes after people is to lie," Robert Cooke said. "He's definitely a suspect, and they have to look closely at him. But based on his history, how much of what he says can you believe?

"I'm hoping somehow we can piece all this together. Either get more evidence on him, or else omit him," Robert Cooke said.

Shortly after his not guilty plea, Moore scheduled — then canceled — interviews with several TV and newspaper reporters. The American-Statesman published a profile of Moore in December that characterized him as a narcissist who craves attention and who believes his intelligence allows him to toy with, and outwit, investigators.

Moore, who has spent most of his adult life in prison, took exception to that article in a January letter to the newspaper, but fell silent when invited to give his version of events.

Since January, no investigators have interviewed Moore in prison, and after four months without contact, Moore sent a letter to the Statesman in mid-May offering to talk. "Earlier the better for me," he wrote. "I will not cancel out this time."

Sitting behind the bullet-proof glass in the visitors lounge of the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, with his thick forearms heavily tattooed, Moore was wary at first and asked if the reporter was acting on behalf of the FBI or Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley.

He warmed to the task of describing how investigators should have seen the holes in his story about kidnapping Cooke, who was 19 when she disappeared. And he apologized to the Cooke family for promising closure in the case and then failing to deliver.

"I can imagine them thinking their daughter, their loved one, just disappeared again right there in that court. That's what I feel so bad about," said Moore, 31.

For Robert Cooke, the apology rings hollow: "That's the part I don't believe. I don't think he cares."

Moore insists that he got caught up in a game with investigators, especially Fred Rhea with the FBI's violent crimes task force. Rhea was the one who brought up Rachel Cooke, Moore said, and he played along, right up to his confession.

"I already went so far, I guess you could say I made my bed, so I had to lie in it," Moore said. "I guess you could say I was basically being an (expletive), thinking about what benefits I could get from this guy coming to see me, this FBI guy."


Changing his story


Moore told investigators that he was driving around Georgetown on the morning of Jan. 10, 2002, in search of businesses or homes to break into. He said he drove past Cooke, who was jogging. He pulled over and parked, he said, and then ran a short distance in front of his truck before turning around. Pretending to be out jogging, Moore said, he timed his run so he and Cooke would meet at his truck, where he hit her in the head with a hammer.

He told investigators he drove her to another location and raped her, hid her body in the truck's large toolbox, and then drove to Matagorda Bay to hide the body.

He changed his plea in court, Moore said, because he didn't want to help "somebody get away with murder."

Bradley, the district attorney, scoffs at that notion.

"I would note that Michael Keith Moore is serving four life sentences, is a psychopathic killer, a proven pathological liar, and has repeatedly used the media to manipulate his circumstances. It would appear to me that he's attempting to manipulate the media once again," Bradley said.

Before his February 2006 trial in the murder of Christina Moore, no relation, Michael Moore made several calls to KVUE-TV, saying he was innocent but knew who had killed the Round Rock woman. He declined to reveal names for fear that his wife would be killed, KVUE reported.

In fact, Moore slit Christina Moore's throat as she kneeled in her bedroom closet on Sept. 23, 2003. She was 35 and three months pregnant.

Prosecutors sought a capital murder verdict, and possible death sentence, but jurors declined — finding Moore guilty of murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping.

Before his sentence could be imposed, Moore pleaded guilty and received concurrent life sentences.

Investigators, stumped for years by Cooke's disappearance, approached Moore last year in the belief that somebody who had killed once might have killed before.

Moore's confession was the product of repeated meetings, including a supervised visit to Matagorda Bay, where Moore said he pointed out the cove where he threw Cooke's body, covered in a tarp and weighed down by rocks.

Searches revealed no sign of her body.

Speaking this week from prison, Moore said he lied about the cove, choosing a secluded spot after being driven around the bay for several hours.

He also said his confession about Cooke's disappearance should have raised questions, such as:

How could he have feigned jogging in street clothes?

Wouldn't a hammer-carrying jogger, or one running with one arm behind his back, raise suspicions?

If Moore was casing businesses for a break-in, wouldn't they have been open by the time Cooke disappeared, estimated to be after 9:15 a.m.?

Moore also said he gave away the large metal toolbox, which he had claimed was used to hide Cooke's body, two months before Cooke's disappearance.

Finally, he said, he was so muscular after lifting weights before his 2000 release from prison, "I wouldn't need a hammer. That's something (investigators) would know."

Bradley declined to discuss an ongoing investigation.

"We're going to behave professionally and not have a public debate about Michael Moore," Bradley said.

"We are going to continue to collect evidence in hopes that someday we can prosecute him for the death of Rachel Cooke."

Rachel's Cooke's father said he merely hopes for some finality.

"We just don't know. We've got (Moore) out there, but I don't think we should 100 percent focus on him, based on the lies that he's told in the past," Robert Cooke said.

"It's hard for me to know what part of that story is true right now."

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/06/16/16moore.html
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xx Rachel Cooke's family holds memorial
« Reply #16 on: Feb 3rd, 2008, 6:50pm »

Family and friends gathered to remember Rachel Cooke, the Georgetown college student who disappeared six years ago, at a vigil Thursday night.

They met near a tree planted in her honor at Georgetown High School to remember the exact date of her disappearance.

Rachel was 19 when she mysteriously disappeared. She was out jogging a couple of blocks from her parents' Georgetown house.

Investigators say while they check out every lead, tips are thin right now.

Every day is agonizing for Rachel's parents and sister, but Jan. 10 is even worse.

“Because you think back and it means it's another year with knowing nothing, no more than the first day, and that bothers me. I feel like I should have known something by now,” Rachel’s mother, Janet Cooke said.

On Thursday her loved ones will visit the tree and tell stories about Rachel, trying to drown out the bad memories with good ones

A convicted killer once claimed he murdered Rachel, then recanted. Rachel's father said Michael Keith Moore is still considered a suspect. There is a 50-thousand dollar reward for information in the case

http://tinyurl.com/26k9sa
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See also our missing & murdered person blog
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