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Differing visions offered in Moore's role in alleged theft of tires

Tony Moore sits at the witness stand during cross-examination for his trial on Thursday, April 17. Moore is accused of stealing more than $150,000 in tires from GCR Tires in Portland, OR.  - Greg Allmain
Tony Moore sits at the witness stand during cross-examination for his trial on Thursday, April 17. Moore is accused of stealing more than $150,000 in tires from GCR Tires in Portland, OR.
— image credit: Greg Allmain

The prosecution and defense in the case of Federal Way Public Schools board member Tony Moore's alleged theft of over $150,000 in truck tires from GCR Tires in Portland, OR, provided differing visions on Moore's role in the alleged crimes. Prosecutor Dennis Shen leaned heavily on two taped phone conversations of Moore and Tracy Homlquist, the prosecution's key witness against Moore in the case, saying that the conversations reveal Moore's true character. Moore's defense attorney, Robert Callahan, countered by illustrating the gray world the used tire business often exists in, one in which transactions are often cash based with no records of sales. Callahan also leaned heavily on questioning the reliability of Holmquist, a self-admitted heroin user, and suspected methamphetamine user, as well, theorizing that Holmquist had positioned himself in the situation in such a way to feed his habits.

"You know what they say about your true character," Shen began in his closing argument. "Your true character comes through when no one's watching. You are who you are when no one's watching. You're not putting on airs for anyone, or playing any games. The defendant had no idea…that he was in fact, being recorded. And these calls are the true window of who we have here today on trial today before you."

Shen continued, saying that the side of Moore caught on the two recordings was the truer version of him, rather than the one who had been on the witness stand, "all scrubbed and prepared to tell you yet another version of how things were." Shen contended that Moore's words and line of thought captured on the tapes meant he knew he and Holmquist were engaged in criminal activity and were trying to escape detection and "fly under the radar."

"Despite what he said to you today, he knew this was a police investigation," Shen said, referencing his cross examination of Moore earlier in the day. "He knew this was a police investigation, and he knew he had done something wrong. And after all, he was talking to the person who had helped him…Nowhere on these tapes does he say, 'We did not do it.' He says they should say, 'We did not do it.' But he never says, 'We didn't do it.'"

Shen outlined the state's case outside of the taped conversations, attempting to show that the numbers regarding Moore's versions of events regarding the stolen tires didn't add up.

"Those numbers don't work. The numbers that the state provides, all work, all have internal consistency, the numbers the defendant provided…doesn't work out, there's no internal consistency," he said. "I submit to you (Moore's version of events) doesn't work. It's offered to you only to try and cause you to think there might be some doubt, to elevate that doubt. To cloud your judgment, to find the defendant not guilty. Tracy Holmquist has been held responsible, and the defendant should be held responsible."

Callahan proposed that the aforementioned world of used junk tires seems to indicate it'd be difficult to place all of the lost tires solely at Moore's feet, and that the facility itself had lax security which made it ripe for theft.

"We heard about other vendors going through the junk pile at GCR. We heard about a burglary at GCR, we heard about other robberies that have happened at other GCR's. They have no security. The gates, most days, were left open. People drove in and out of there, and now they want to say that everything that's missing from their inventory is the responsibility of Mr. Moore," he said. "I put to you that's just not the type of proof that I would require to say yes, Mr. Moore took all the tires. It just doesn't make any sense."

Callahan addressed the taped conversations, conceding there was nothing he could say about them, that is "going to make it pretty."

"It's clear to me that Tony Moore is telling Tracy Holmquist how to deceive the police. He has admitted that he made those statements and he regrets them," Callahan said.

Callahan continued, saying that when reviewing the case, it really comes down to two people: Holmquist and Moore.

"It comes down to the testimony of Tracy Homlmquist and the testimony of Tony Moore. Everything else that surrounds them does not, in any way, connect directly…Mr. Moore to the tires. The reality is, that Tracy Holmquist is a junkie. He was a heroin addict. He was using heroin during this time. Arguably, he was a methamphetamine addict."

He added that one of the detectives working the case had noted the unmistakable odor associated with methamphetamine use coming from Holmquist at one point, but backed off the claim once it became clear that Holmquist was going to be the major cog in the state's case against Moore.

Callahan continued with highlighting Holmquist's drug abuse issues, asking aloud what "we" know about junkies.

"We know that junkies lie, and we know that junkies steal," he answered himself.

Moore's defense attorney continued, pointing out that there seemed to be some internal issues within GCR Tires itself, including suspicions of people manipulating sales figures and so on. The fact that Holmquist was in a position of responsibility was something Callahan highlighted as a way of showing that the company seemed to be too trusting of its employees. Along with those arguments, he also pointed out that the world of used junk tires is one that is typically "cash only" and often times "off inventory", once again making it difficult for the state to posit that the estimated over 2,000 tires that went missing could all be tied to Moore.

"There's a lot of circumstantial evidence in this case, you're being asked to use it to form conclusions," Callahan concluded. "There are a lot of inferences that Deputy Shen is asking you to make from these documents, that may not be true. I want you to examine closely what conclusions you're being asked to draw from what documents, and are they supported by the evidence. If not, don't make that inference…I ask you to hold the state to that burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

The jury was still in deliberations as of this story's posting Friday morning.

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