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Renfro tells jury he accepts his fate, even if it means the death penalty

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 3, 2017

Jonathan Renfro smiles toward the gallery in the courtroom at the Kootenai County Courthouse in Coeur d'Alene on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Now that the jury found him guilty of murdering Coeur d'Alene Police Sergeant Greg Moore, the sentencing phase is underway. He faces life in prison or the death penalty. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Jonathan Renfro smiles toward the gallery in the courtroom at the Kootenai County Courthouse in Coeur d'Alene on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Now that the jury found him guilty of murdering Coeur d'Alene Police Sergeant Greg Moore, the sentencing phase is underway. He faces life in prison or the death penalty. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

For the first time since his trial began on Sept. 11, convicted killer Jonathan D. Renfro took the stand Friday to speak about his role in the death of Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Greg Moore.

He used his first words to address the slain officer’s family.

“I know you all hate me with good cause,” Renfro said, facing them. “I know you probably don’t believe me, but I am sorry.”

Renfro then turned to the jury – the same jury that convicted him of first-degree murder in the May 5, 2015, ambushing and killing – and told them he accepted whatever fate they chose.

“I’ve taken the life of a man who was much greater than I am. I can never fix that. Not only have I destroyed that family, I’ve destroyed my own family,” he said.

“If you decide the death penalty will give back to the community and the Moore family,” he continued, “I accept that decision and will support it.”

After deliberation, the jury may now elect that Renfro face the death penalty. If it doesn’t unanimously agree to that sentence, Renfro will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jury had not reached a verdict by the end of the day Friday.

During the day’s proceedings, however, Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor David Robins gave the jury a long list of reasons why the state believes Renfro should receive the death penalty.

“Greg was a good man who deserved many more years with his wife. He was a good man who deserved to raise his children,” Robins said. “He was a good man whose life was ended by a man who didn’t want to go back to prison.

“In terms of the family, no words I can say can do justice to the pain they feel every day,” he continued. “The death penalty will not bring Greg back, but it will provide justice to a family that will suffer for the rest of their lives.”

Defense attorney Keith Roark did not try to convince the jury that his client had not committed the killing. Instead, he asked that they simply let Renfro die in prison.

“I am asking you to take from this man all of the things that make his life worth living. Put him in a place where he will never again be able to look at a sunrise over Lake Coeur d’Alene or smell the pine trees after a spring rain … to never know what it is to walk down the street holding the hand of someone you love.

“This can all be over,” Roark said. “Nothing you do is going to put back in the heart of Dylon Moore what a father’s love means. But there is no need to kill this man.”

Renfro’s statements followed a day of painful testimony, as Moore’s family described how the officer’s death had ripped through their lives.

“I miss his touch, his warmth and his presence,” Moore’s widow, Lindy Moore, said through tears. “I miss being his wife. I miss the way he loved me. I miss him and I will never be the same.

“My husband was murdered in one moment,” she continued. “Our future is gone.”

Friday also included the continued testimony of forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, who testified that he believed Renfro suffers from antisocial anxiety disorder and not from a traumatic brain injury as experts from the defense had claimed.

Welner, who charged the state $210,000 for his research and $6,000 a day to testify, said Renfro had been doing well before making a decision to pursue criminal activity.

“If he wasn’t armed, he would not have shot Sgt. Moore,” Welner said. “He chose to arm himself. This was a byproduct of his won choices, of doing what he wanted to do and being where he wanted to be.”

First District Judge Lansing Haynes then allowed Moore’s mother, father and 14-year-old son to testify.

The stories painted a compelling picture of a bear of a man who always found time for his family, who daily wrestled his son and became a lifelong friend to anyone who got to know him.

Dylon told the jury he knew his father as “Batman” because “he worked in the night, and he had a belt with a lot of gadgets. He was filled with a love for me that will never be duplicated.”

The teenager testified about the night his father was shot and the ongoing regret of not being able say goodbye to his dying father, who he was told was unrecognizable because of the shot to his face.

“I didn’t know I would never give him another hug or see him at the softball game again,” he said as he cried. “He made me feel like I had a place at the top of his heart. I love my dad, and will miss him for the rest of my life.”

Fred Moore, himself a lifelong police officer, spoke in broken sentences about the son who followed his footsteps into law enforcement.

Greg Moore “told me many times that he loved his job because he liked to help others,” Fred Moore said. “I was always told that the loss of a child is the worst thing a human can suffer. I can tell you … it’s unbearable and it just never goes away.”

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