06/29/17 — Moyers pleads guilty in 2016 shooting death

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Moyers pleads guilty in 2016 shooting death

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on June 29, 2017 7:00 AM

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Matthew Craig Moyers will spend 72 to 99 months in prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the July 23, 2016, killing of 25-year-old Joshua Omar Forbes.

Moyers, 25, of Dudley, took the plea earlier this month. He also pleaded to two counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver methamphetamine, according to court records.

He was originally charged with first-degree murder, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

Assistant District Attorney Davis Weddle, who prosecuted the case, said Moyers had an imperfect self-defense that allowed the plea to the lesser charge.

Weddle said an imperfect self-defense is one where an individual uses excessive force in response to a situation they are in.

He said the two men were fighting about drug money Moyers allegedly owed someone else, as Moyers was an admitted drug dealer. Weddle said Forbes found Moyers in an effort to collect the money.

Weddle said Moyers hit Forbes, and then Forbes returned a blow.

The two men went to the ground during the fight, and Weddle said Forbes was on top of Moyers during the scuffle when Moyers shot him once.

After being shot, Forbes went back to the car he arrived in and told the people inside he was shot.

Forbes left the scene of the shooting and stopped at an unidentified business on U.S. 117 South where the people Forbes was with tried to get him help, which is when Forbes died.

In the following days, authorities interviewed people connected to the case before finding Moyers at a house on U.S. 117 South on July 25, 2016, and arrested him.

Weddle said the revolver Moyers used to shoot Forbes was recovered from his car when authorities executed a search warrant on it, which was parked outside the house where he was found.

Weddle said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner provided evidence to support Moyers' story, indicating that Forbes was shot one time at close range.

Moyers has maintained he acted in self-defense since the time of his arrest, Weddle said, and witnesses for the case supported that claim.

Weddle said in Moyers' case, using a gun during a fight could be construed as excessive force.

Moyers claimed he feared for his life and thought Forbes was going to kill him during the fight, Weddle said, as Forbes was a larger man than Moyers.

Weddle said the agreed-upon plea deal was thought to be a fair resolution by the parties involved.