MANCHESTER, NH — The man accused of firing a gun at a moving Jeep, sending a bullet into the back of a Hudson mother of one, killing her, could spend a total of eight years in prison on a reduced charge of manslaughter.
Justin Moura was sentenced Tuesday to the New Hampshire State Prison for 12 to 24 years in the shooting death last year of Tanya C. Hall, 34, the mother of a then 18-month-old toddler.
The way the plea agreement was structured, however, Moura, 35, could be out of prison in seven years. The negotiated plea allows for a three-year reduction if he commits no violent crimes in the next two years and another one-year reduction if he earns an associate’s degree. He also received credit for 366 days of pre-trial confinement.
Moura also must pay up to $25,000 to the New Hampshire Victims Compensation Fund. Presently, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said restitution totals $19,604.
Originally, Moura was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.
Hinckley said the state always viewed the crime as a reckless act and not one that Moura committed knowingly. And, he said, what was factored into the plea agreement was that Moura turned himself in to police and surrendered the gun. He said Moura showed genuine remorse and regret for his conduct.
Another factor, he said, was Moura’s service to the country doing two tours of duty in Iraq. The sentence imposed provides punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation, and spares the family the ordeal of a trial, he said.
Moura, he said, maintained the gun accidentally fired and Hinckley said for the purpose of the negotiated plea, the state agreed. After the sentence was imposed by Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District Judge Amy Messer, Moura was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs to be taken to the Concord prison.
The courtroom was packed with about two dozen family members and friends of Hall sitting behind prosecutors and about 40 family, friends and Moura’s fellow Bros Club members sitting on the opposite side behind defense attorneys.
Moura chose not to make a statement but his attorney Stephen Rosecan said: “We want to express our condolences to Miss Hall’s family.”
Hall was a single mother who, her mother Robyn Neveu said, worked two full-time jobs. She was tenacious, ambitious, kind, loyal, had an open mind and an open heart, was humble, modest and someone who could “light up a room,” Neveu said. She was always willing to help anyone in need. She had just built her home and was working on plans for a beach house.
She wanted to send her son to a private school so he could have a great education.
“Her life was taken from her and she never got the chance to fulfill these dreams,” she said.
“Justin, you brought that gun to the bar, you pulled the gun out and it resulted in the killing of our daughter,” she said.
Friend Nicole Gamester said she’s spent many sleepless nights trying to work out “how to live in a world where my best friend no longer does.”
Hours before Hall’s death, Gamester bought her wedding gown and talked with Hall who seemed more excited than Gamester. “She loved her family and friends more than anything,” she said.
Four family members and friends gave statements but none said they disagreed with the sentence.
The shooting happened on the night of March 2, 2019. Moura and Hall’s boyfriend, Jeremy Winslow, 34, of Manchester had a fight — pushing, shoving and punching, according to testimony from lead investigator Detective Kevin Jusza — on the dance floor of Club Manchvegas on Old Granite Street. The two men knew each other and had had previous run-ins, according to police investigators.
After Winslow and Hall left the club, two men followed them as they walked to Winslow’s Jeep parked in the lot across from the club. The man in the lead was Moura, according to Jusza.
Police recovered a video recording of the area outside the club which showed Moura appearing to exchange words with Winslow, although Jusza said there was no audio. Moura turned and walked away but Winslow, Moura told the detective, yelled out the window, “I’ll kill you.”
The Jeep then knocked Moura to the ground. Moura, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Army infantryman, told the detective he thought he might die and went into “fight or flight” mode.
Moura took out a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun from his vest and ran after the Jeep. He slipped on ice and the gun fired. Jusza said the rear passenger side window was shattered by the bullet which struck Hall in the back, killing her.