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Aunt Maggie

To know my Aunt Maggie is to adore her.

She is a 92-year-old retired nurse who lives in Cleveland. When I graduated from law school, I moved to Cleveland to work for a law firm. During my first weeks in town, I lived with my Aunt Maggie and Uncle Thurman. It was almost embarrassing the way my aunt fussed over me. She loved being a nurse and worked in the maternity ward.

“There’s nothing better than watching the miracle of birth,” she told me.

I lived in Cleveland for 17 years before moving back to Los Angeles. But I remained close with my aunt and uncle. A few years ago, she lost her husband. They were married nearly 60 years.

A devout Christian, Aunt Maggie, a gifted singer with a four-octave range, still sings in the choir in the same church she joined nearly 60 years ago. She drives herself to the church every week and rarely misses a Sunday.

Correction, she used to drive herself. Last June, Aunt Maggie got out of her car in the church parking lot and was knocked down by an armed thug. He grabbed her purse and her Bible in which she jotted down notes for 40 years.

An investigating detective told me the criminal is 40 years old. And he has been busy. To say he is a career criminal is to insult career criminals. My aunt was one of five of his victims in just one month. He specializes in robbing women as they walk from their cars to church.

This is from Cleveland.com: “The robbery spree started on June 7. … (LaDon) Moore went up to a man on a ladder working on a home on Rexford Avenue. When the man came down off the ladder, Moore pulled a pistol on him and demanded everything he had. The man threw himself to the ground and tossed his cellphone and his wallet to Moore, who scooped up the items and took off. Moore then used the cellphone to call the man’s wife. He demanded she give him either the man’s Social Security number or his bank account information. If she didn’t, he would ‘blow his head off’ … The woman thought it was prank and hung up. She then called her husband back, and Moore answered. He repeated the threat, and the woman gave up the information and then called police.

“Six days later, Moore held up a Dollar Store at gunpoint. (After assaulting my aunt), the next day, Moore went up to a woman in a different church parking lot and pulled a gun on her. When she said she didn’t have any money on her, he made her walk to a nearby gas station and take money out of an ATM to give to him …

“Moore also robbed a woman in a gas station parking lot … The next day … tried to rob a 63-year-old woman outside another church. The woman ran into the church and called for help, and Moore ran away.”

Unfortunately for Moore, the assault on Aunt Maggie was captured on the church’s surveillance cameras. He was arrested. His criminal record includes eight years in prison and later another five years for aggravated robbery and felonious assault.

This time, he pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 18 years. In court, he apologized: “It was a cowardly, desperate act. I’m sorry. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry.” He said he did it to provide for his two children.

The presiding judge clearly knew something about my aunt when he told Moore that she would pray for him while he sits behind bars. The judge said: “I hope you feel that. Nobody in this courtroom believes you’re beyond redemption. Hopefully, you’ll live through this, be released back into the community and change will come over you as a result.”

Aunt Maggie can no longer drive herself and she now walks with a cane. She added additional home security while Moore was at large, not knowing what he might do given that he had her address. Shattered, she says, “I feel as if something, someone is waiting to do the same thing that Mr. Moore did.”

Her beloved Bible was never recovered. Perhaps Moore can find one in the prison library — and read it.



Image credit: Unsplash

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    John Iovine
    February 15, 2024, 3:57 pm

    I find it difficult to have sympathy for those who prey on the elderly and disabled.


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