PHOENIX, AZ (October 11, 2013) – A man who fatally shot his former girlfriend last year in front of their children in a school parking lot will spend the rest of his life in prison with no eligibility for release. Thomas Lamont Moton (D.O.B. 10/20/1973) was found guilty of First Degree Murder last month and sentenced to a prison term of natural life by the Honorable Dawn Bergin today. His criminal record includes prior felony convictions for drug and assault offenses in Nebraska.
“This defendant is deserving of a life sentence for committing such a brazen, senseless and cowardly act of violence that robbed three children of their mother and placed other members of our community at risk,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family for the grief and pain they will carry for the rest of their lives,” he added.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m. on May 25, 2012, Avondale police responded to the scene of a shooting in the parking lot of Westview High School on Garden Lakes Parkway in Avondale. There they found Takesha Barnes with multiple gunshot wounds sitting unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a red Ford Fusion sedan. She was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix and pronounced dead upon arrival.
Investigators learned that Takesha Barnes had two children with Thomas Moton and that their relationship was marked by domestic violence. In the weeks prior to her death, Takesha planned to move with her children to Texas to get away from Moton and start a new life. She also obtained an Order of Protection against Moton, but he had not been served with it. On May 25, Takesha’s bags were packed and in her car as she attended an 8th grade promotion ceremony at Westview High School for her daughter from a previous relationship. Her other two children and a family friend were with her at the time.
A school security guard told police that immediately prior to the shooting, Takesha asked him to escort her and her children and friend to her car, telling him she was afraid of her children’s father. As he was walking the four of them to Takesha’s car, the security guard saw a man later identified as Moton at the north end of the parking lot, crouching down between the cars and moving parallel to them. The guard told them to get into Takesha’s car and lock the doors.