Moura says shooting accidental: ‘I can’t believe a girl my age is dead’

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Justin Moura, accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tanya Hall. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH – Justin Moura, accused in the shooting death of Tanya Hall, 34,  mother of a toddler, from Hudson, maintained Tuesday that the shooting was accidental and happened after Hall’s boyfriend hit him with his Jeep.

Moura, 34, is asking Hillsborough County Superior Court – North Judge Amy Messer to release him on bail arguing that the evidence does not support a reckless second-degree murder charge.  

The shooting happened March 2 after Moura and Jeremy Roye Winslow, 34, of Manchester, the boyfriend of shooting victim Tanya Hall, 34, of Hudson, 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 previous run-ins, investigators said.

The information presented in court Tuesday did not align with what Winslow’s attorney, Mark Osborne told the court during a March 8 bail hearing for Winslow, who was arrested on unrelated charges during an appearance before a Nashua judge.

Osborne said his client, “…had an opportunity to fight or flee.  He fled,” Osborne said.  “He did not engage in any fight or any fisticuffs.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys obtained video surveillance from outside the club the night of the shooting and played it in the courtroom with a standing room-only crowd of family members of both the victim and the defendant and media.

Winslow and Hall left the club and headed Winslow’s blue Jeep Wrangler parked in the lot across from the club. Two men follow them, one leading the way and reaching the Jeep first.

Jusza identified that man as Moura.

Manchester Police Det. Kevin Jusza testifies during Tuesday’s hearing. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Moura appears to exchange words with the driver, although Jusza said there is no audio.  Moura then turns and walks away but Winslow, Moura told the detective, yelled out the window, “I’ll kill you.”

The Jeep then drove at Moura, knocking him to the ground.  Moura, who served two tours of duty in Iran as a U.S. Army infantryman, was injured and told the detective he thought he might die under the circumstances.  He went into “fight or flight” mode.

Moura took a 9 mm loaded semi-automatic handgun from his vest and ran after the Jeep.  He told the detective he intended to get the license plate or shoot out a tire.

When he reached the Jeep at the intersection of Granite and Old Granite streets, he slipped on ice and the gun fired.  He believes the gun hit the Jeep causing the firearm to discharge.

“Did you tell him at the time you had a video of him being struck?” Rosecan asked.  Jusza said police didn’t have the video at that time.

Moura turned himself into Nashua police two days after the shooting telling them he was the shooter and relinquishing the 9 mm handgun.  Manchester detectives interviewed him there.

Jusza said the rear passenger side window was shattered by the bullet which struck Hall in the back.   

Jusza agreed that Moura was shocked the firearm caused Hall’s death and that he didn’t think there was any way the bullet could hit her.

The detective, however, explained the trajectory of a bullet can change when it hits something else like glass.

Moura told the detective he did not know Hall and he was not trying to harm her.  He referred to her death as tragic and he felt sorry for her family and her son.

“I can’t believe a girl my age is dead,” he told Jusza.

Jusza said in the affidavit he filed for an arrest warrant for Moura, he did not include that Moura said it was an accidental firing, that Winslow had run into him or that the side rear right passenger window was shot.

Initially, police thought the gun was fired from a distance of 20 feet.  Now, Jusza agreed, the shooting happened right next to the vehicle.

After the hearing, Senior Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley explained that New Hampshire’s murder statutes require a defendant to be held without bail.

Hinckley, in asking for the no-bail order, said Moura took out a loaded firearm and, with heavy traffic in the area that might, fired the gun, showing extreme indifference to the value of human life.  He said Moura also had the motive to harm Winslow because of the history between the two of them.

And, he said, it is highly suspect that he was trying to get the license plate since he knew Winslow.

Rosecan is arguing that the incident should be charged as a lesser offense and that bail is appropriate.

Judge Amy Messer took the matter under advisement.  If she rules in favor of the state, Moura will remain jailed on no bail.  If not, another hearing will be held to determine the amount of bail.

“I think people will see through exactly what happened and that it was a horrible, horrible accident,” said Moura’s aunt Sandy Barton after the hearing.

His uncle Ed Sousa said Moura knows “he made the biggest mistake of his life.”

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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.