Md. man accused of killing gas station clerk arraigned for murder of pregnant woman

A Silver Spring, Maryland, man who police said killed a gas station clerk in White Oak earlier this month is now charged in the killing of a pregnant woman after her body was found in his apartment, according to charging documents released Friday.

Torrey Damien Moore, 31, was charged with two counts of first degree murder and one charge of violent crime against a pregnant person in court on Friday, Dec. 23.

On Dec. 8, police say Moore shot and killed 61-year-old Ayalew Wondimu after a verbal altercation that turned physical.

The killing led detectives to a more gruesome discovery — when they arrested Moore at his home on Dec. 9, they also found a pregnant woman’s decomposing body. Authorities claim she had been there since at least October.

The pregnant woman, later identified as 26-year-old Denise Middleton, was found nearly 8 months pregnant and in “an advanced state of decomposition.”

Moore received one murder charge on account of the unborn child, in accordance with Maryland state laws protecting viable fetuses.

Police said Moore told detectives that he had been in a relationship with Middleton and she had been killed during “some kind of fight between the two” about a month ago.

Moore has not been convicted of Wondimu’s murder and is being held without bond on charges of first degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime.

On Dec. 19, Moore was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial for Wondimu’s murder following a competency evaluation and was to be held in police custody. He will undergo a second competency hearing in June 2023.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said, “For the purposes of the community safety, it’s important to note that he is not free in that community. He is being held without bond because of the dangerousness, even though it’s still pending as an evaluation for competency.”

Moore will stand trial again on Jan. 6 for a preliminary court hearing, though the State’s Attorney’s office doesn’t believe that date will stand, instead anticipating that they will present the case before a grand jury.

Moore has another bond hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 27.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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