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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Detectives in Renfro murder trial describe finding gun stolen from slain officer

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 26, 2017, 10:58 p.m.

Jonathan Renfro at the Kootenai County Courthose in Coeur d'Alene on Monday,Sept. 11, 2017. He has been convicted of murder in connection with the shooting death of Coeur dAlene Police Sgt. Greg Moore on May 5, 2015; a jury will decide next week if he faces life in prison or the death penalty. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Jonathan Renfro at the Kootenai County Courthose in Coeur d'Alene on Monday,Sept. 11, 2017. He has been convicted of murder in connection with the shooting death of Coeur dAlene Police Sgt. Greg Moore on May 5, 2015; a jury will decide next week if he faces life in prison or the death penalty. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Just under three hours after someone shot Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore in the face and stole his gun in 2015, investigators found Moore’s stolen patrol car near Stateline. Nearby, under a semitrailer, they sent in a police dog to apprehend the man who now faces the death penalty.

The mountain of evidence facing Jonathan D. Renfro appears to have eliminated the question of whether he shot Moore and has turned his murder trial into an argument over what he was thinking when he pulled the trigger.

In her opening argument on Monday, defense attorney Linda Payne conceded that Renfro may be guilty of negligent homicide, but she denied that he planned to kill Moore, who encountered an all-black clad Renfro at about 1:30 a.m. on May 5 in an area of Coeur d’Alene that had a recent spate of burglaries. Renfro was carrying a gun in violation of his parole at the time.

But when officers raced to the scene to find an unconscious Moore, they couldn’t find his car or gun.

Then just after 4 a.m., law enforcement converged at the parking lot of the Wal-Mart near Stateline and found Renfro hiding under the semitrailer. Sheriff’s Detective Jerry Northrup testified about searching the area where officers apprehended Renfro.

Hidden in the steel structure of the trailer, Northrup found Moore’s Coeur d’Alene Police issued Glock .40 caliber handgun, which matched the serial number from the receipt the department still retained when it bought the firearm. Also under the truck were two loaded clips that went with the stolen gun.

Moore’s gun “was on top of an air reservoir tank under the trailer near the rear axle,” Northrup said.

In the field near the stolen patrol car, investigators found glasses, a police-issued flashlight and a Zippo lighter.

The jurors get a break on Wednesday and Deputy Kootenai County Prosecutor Dave Robins said he expects to bring testimony Thursday showing how investigators later found the gun that killed Moore in the same field.

The prosecution, which originally believed the trial may last six to eight weeks, could be done by Friday, Robins said.

“We have a block of witnesses who will describe the defendant on the night of the shooting,” Robins told First District Judge Lansing Haynes. “By Friday or Monday, we should conclude the case.”

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