Charges Added, Details Emerge in Homicide Case

Warren man accused of killing his grandmother now facing three additional charges

Photo by Brian Hagberg.

WARREN, Pa. – Three new charges were added and new details emerged during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in the case of a Warren man accused of killing his grandmother in June.

At the start of the hearing, Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene made a motion that one count of theft by unlawful taking and two counts of abuse of a corpse be added to the criminal homicide charge against Juston K. Moore, 18 of Warren. Moore is accused of killing his grandmother, Kelly D. Wadsworth, 60 of Warren.

Wadsworth’s body was discovered outside of her residence on June 15.

Moore was charged with criminal homicide on June 16. He was already in custody in Luzerne County when Wadsworth’s body was discovered.

Warren Police Detective Tiffany Post testified Wednesday that police were called to Wadsworth’s Fourth Avenue residence at approximately 2:45 p.m. on June 15 after one of the victim’s family members observed “human feet” in the recycle bin outside the residence. Post also testified that Moore and Wadsworth “lived together” at the time.

Family members hadn’t heard from Wadsworth since June 9, and Post said Wadsworth’s two sons had gone to the home to check for “signs of her being there.”

Post said police found Wadsworth’s body in the recycle bin “wrapped in a sheet/blanket” along with a hammer, two candles, some clothing, and a spray can.

An autopsy performed in Erie determined the cause of death as “asphyxiation, strangulation, and blunt force trauma,” according to a June 16 release from Warren Police.

A portion of Moore’s June 22 interview with police, in which he described the killing, was played during Wednesday’s hearing. The interview was between Moore and Post, no attorneys or other officers were present during the interview.

In the interview, Moore said he believed the victim wanted him to kill her.

“I wanted to kill her, I thought that’s what she wanted me to do,” Moore said in the interview. “I wanted to do it in the least painful way. I didn’t want her to die naturally.”

After conducting multiple Google searches for ways to kill people, including whether “90mg or 900” was enough of the antidepressant Trazadone, to kill a person, Moore said in the interview that he watched “for about 20 minutes” as Wadsworth slept on the couch.

At that point in the interview, Moore described how the killing took place.

Moore said he initially tried to smother Wadsworth with a bed pillow. Failing that, Moore said he strangled the victim unconscious, then he said he remembered going to the kitchen and “getting the hammer.”

During the interview, Moore said he took Wadsworth’s pulse multiple times.

“I wanted to make sure it was me (who killed her),” Moore said in the interview. “I was relieved (after the killing). Honestly, I was proud of myself.”

He said he then covered Wadsworth’s body with a blanket, retrieved a blue recycling bin from outside, and placed the body inside the bin. Moore said he put the candles inside the bin because they represented Wadsworth’s “mother and sister” and that he “wanted her to be with her family.”

Post testified that the incident took place late on the night of June 9 and into the early morning hours of June 10. She said Moore then took the victim’s vehicle and drove to Luzerne County.

Post added that White Haven Police took Moore into custody on separate charges later in the day on June 10.

Magisterial District Judge Laura Bauer found sufficient evidence to bind Moore over to the Court of Common Pleas on all charges. A formal arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 25, according to online court records.