Montgomery Co. man convicted in murder of gas station clerk, awaits trial in death of pregnant woman

Montgomery Co. man convicted in murder of gas station clerk

A Silver Spring, Maryland, man, was found guilty Thursday in the killing of a convenience store clerk. He also faces two separate murder charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend, who prosecutors say was eight months pregnant.

Thursday’s conviction stems from a shooting that happened Feb. 8, 2022, when 33-year-old Torrey Moore entered the Dash In convenience store at the Shell gas station in the 11000 block of New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring. Store management previously banned Moore from the store.

Moore and the clerk, 61-year-old Ayalew Wondimu, got into an argument, which escalated until Moore started throwing energy drink shot bottles at Wondimu, who then picked up a metal pole and swung it at Moore.

That’s when surveillance video shows Moore pull a handgun from his jacket pocket; he shot Wondimu, who slumped to the ground behind the counter. Moore then leans over the counter and continues firing at Wondimu, who was shot a total of three times, prosecutors said.

Once police identified Moore as the suspect in the shooting, they arrived at his apartment to serve an arrest warrant and found the decomposed body a of pregnant woman, 26-year-old Denise Middleton, on the bedroom floor. She had been shot seven times, according to prosecutors, who said Middleton was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.

Moore told police Middleton was his girlfriend and that they got into an argument on the day of her death. According to charging documents, Moore told investigators he “pushed her down” and that “a slap was probably thrown” and “I probably choked her a little bit.”

Then, Moore said he left to buy some marijuana and returned to the apartment to find Middleton dead. He also told police that a few days after finding her body, he went to California and stayed there for over a month.

Charging documents state Moore is wanted in Norfolk, Virginia, on an aggravated assault charge involving Middleton. According to a police report dated June 2, 2022, obtained by Montgomery County investigators, Middleton told police that Moore “had punched and then choked her for about three minutes to the point she could not breathe.”

Moore will stand trial in November on first-degree murder charges in connection to both Middleton’s death and that of the fetus she was carrying, which prosecutors said was viable at the time of Middleton’s death.

Moore will be sentenced for the murder of Wondimu in December.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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