Teen accused of killing stepfather makes first court appearance - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Teen accused of killing stepfather makes first court appearance

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Nineteen-year-old Dwayne Moore, accused of murdering Ridgeway High School teacher and coach Jim McClain, made his first court appearance - not for the murder charge but for aggravated burglary and theft.

Moore's attorney was present and ready to defend on the burglary and theft charges.

Standing outside a Shelby County General Sessions Courtroom, tightly holding her child and looking emotionally scared was Moore's older sister. 

"He didn't do it," she said.

"You don't think he did it at all," FOX13 News asked.

"It ain't not think I know," she said.

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Moore has been behind bars for the last few weeks and made his first court appearance Wednesday for aggravated burglary and theft of property. He's accused of stealing a custom AR-15 rifle with accessories and ammunition in late January.

Moore was arrested March 5 after the gun's owner pointed out his gun, held by Moore in an online picture. But Moore's problems went from bad to worse in a matter of hours.

"After I filed the formal motion for a reduction of bond, it was my understanding that he was indicted," attorney John Perry said. "I don't know if it was a coincidence or what but that's when I found out."

Moore is also facing a charge of murder in the death of his stepfather. Mr. McClain.

"We're going to have to get back, read the indictment," Perry added. "I haven't gotten a copy of it yet even on the murder charge. We'll look at that, try to weigh it and see what we're going to do as far as bond and those issues as it comes."

Perry says since Moore waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the burglary and theft charge the entire case will now go to criminal court.

Moore's bond is still at $2 million. His next court date has yet to be scheduled through criminal court.

"This was a case of good old fashion police work," said Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham.

But, Sheriff Oldham could have added solving the murder of the popular Ridgeway High School coach and teacher, is an example of another age old investigative procedure yielding results. To find a suspect begin by working from the inside-out.

"With interviews of those who knew Mr. McClain ... with those interviews we continued forward with follow up and very shortly developed as a suspect his stepson, Dwayne Moore," Sheriff Oldham explained. 

The Tuesday indictment of Moore appears to be the culmination of an investigation that began on Feb. 22. That's when sheriff's deputies were dispatched to McClain's home in the 7600 block of Cordova Club Drive after he'd been reported missing for two days. What they found when they entered the house was a gruesome scene.

But, what they saw they kept to themselves for weeks, apparently not wanting to risk tipping off potential suspects.

"We made entry and found Mr. McClain deceased," the sheriff said. "It was apparent from the scene that a homicide had occurred, in that multiple gunshots had been fired inside the home and he had been struck multiple times."

Shelby County Sheriff's investigator Lt. Kevin Helms elaborates, "At that time we felt it was necessary to hold that information back because of who we already suspected we had to hold that in."

Moore, who was already in jail on an unrelated burglary charge involving a rifle, allegedly used a .40-caliber handgun to shoot an unsuspecting Mr. McClain. Sheriff's investigators say Moore still had access to the house despite the fact he last lived under McClain's roof as a 15-year-old, when the former pro basketball star was married to Moore's mother.

Oldham said while Mr. McClain's former wife has cooperated fully with the investigation after he was charged with his step-dad's murder, Moore has continued to be the exact opposite.

"No, he did not confess. He was not cooperating in any shape, form or fashion in our investigation," says Oldham.

Helms adds, "We stayed on top of this and that we got an arrest. Mr. McClain was a very good person. He was a good person for our community."

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