In the frantic moments after Coeur d’Alene Sgt. Greg Moore was shot in 2015, several friends of Jonathan D. Renfro testified Monday about how they sent him text messages to help him avoid the cascade of law enforcement that converged on a parking lot near Stateline, Idaho.
The prosecution has one more witness they intend to call Tuesday before resting its first-degree murder case against Renfro, 29, who is charged with gunning down Moore on May 5, 2015, as he was patrolling an area of the Lake City that had several recent reports of burglaries. The defense will begin calling witnesses next week.
Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor David Robins called Kayla Best on Monday to testify about how she and several others used methamphetamines on the day leading up to the shooting of Moore with drugs that Renfro had provided.
“You attempted to help him elude law enforcement?” Robins said. Best replied: “Yes.”
Prior to the shooting in the early morning hours of May 5, Renfro showed his friends a 9 mm Glock pistol that he had obtained. It had been stolen a week prior from a pickup in Post Falls.
“We had talked about going shooting and he said he could outshoot anyone,” Best said. “He wanted (the gun) for protection. He wanted it in case everything didn’t go as according to plan.”
During the get together with friends on May 4, 2015, Renfro also showed off his hollow-point bullets. “He said they’d blow a hole in anything,” Best said.
Later that night, Renfro left the friends. But after midnight, he began to send text messages indicating something bad had happened.
“What’s going on?” a friend texted at 12:27 a.m. on May 5, 2015. Renfro responded that he was running.
Best texted him: “Go to 24hr Place and wait it out.” She testified that she meant the 24-hour Wal-Mart near Stateline.
Best said she and her friends had apps for their phones that allowed them to listen to the local police radio traffic.
“WTH did you do bro? We’ve been listening to the scanner,” a friend texted Renfro at 2:27 a.m.
By that time, Renfro had apparently followed Best’s advice. Investigators later found Moore’s stolen police car near the Wal-Mart in Stateline.
During the search, in which law enforcement shut down traffic on Interstate 90 as they searched for Moore’s shooter, Renfro called Best, she said.
He told her “that he was hiding in the Wal-Mart dumpster,” Best said. “I told him to get out. I was trying to get him a ride.”
But the scanner traffic indicated that police converged on the area before Best could arrange transportation to get Renfro.
“I told him that that there was no way I could get to him, that he was surrounded by cops,” she said. “I told him he needs to break the cell phone and run. He said he was going to do a shootout. I told him I loved him and I didn’t want to see him go out that way.”
Defense attorney Linda Payne then grilled Best about why she didn’t provide that information in several earlier interviews.
“Not once did you ever tell police that J.D. was going to do a shootout with police until you testified today,” Payne said.
“I let them know” last week, Best replied.
She acknowledged that investigators at one point told her that they could charge her as an accessory to Moore’s killing.
“You’ve known J.D. for a while. You told police that he wasn’t a monster,” Payne said and Best agreed.
“I knew that he did not want to be arrested again and in custody,” Best said, “and that he would do whatever it takes to avoid that.”
Robins then called Miranda Rafferty to testify.
She also testified about texting and talking with Renfro on the morning Moore was shot.
“I received a voice mail first. He said that he’s sorry he would not be back by the house. Something happened,” Rafferty said. “It sounded like running. I tried to call him back. I sent him a text message asking what was wrong. He was asking for help.”
The final witness called Monday was Jennifer Doane, who said it was she who injected Renfro with meth just hours before Moore was shot. Like Best and Rafferty, Doane also testified about how Renfro reached out for help.
Renfro told them that he’d messed up “big time. I don’t know when I’ll see you again,” Doane said. “He said he needed help. He was trying to escape from being arrested.”
On Renfro’s confiscated cell phone, detectives learned that at 2:13 a.m., Renfro texted his friends: “Need help Stateline.”
Less than two hours later, officers discovered Renfro hiding under a semi-trailer parked near the Wal-Mart at Stateline. Nearby was the gun taken from Moore’s body in the moments after he was shot in the face and while he struggled to breathe.
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.