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Man sentenced for death of woman who was set on fire

Anthony Harris Moore Anthony Harris Moore

A 33-year-old Hendersonville man was sentenced to almost 23 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges of dousing the victim with gasoline, District Attorney Greg Newman announced. The victim, who was set on fire, was treated in a burn unit until she died six months after the attack.

 

Anthony Harrison Moore, of 116 Adeles Way, pleaded guilty in the Henderson County Superior Court to second-degree murder. Moore was charged with dousing gasoline onto Teresa Ann Praytor Stallings during an argument on Dec. 7, 2017, and igniting her with a cigarette lighter. Stallings was transported by helicopter to the burn unit at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she was treated until her death six months later on June 7, 2018. Moore was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Peter Knight to a prison term of 272 months, or 22 years, eight months. He will be eligible for parole after serving 18 years.

Henderson County Sheriff’s deputies and EMS personnel were dispatched to 293 Boxwood Branch Lane in December 2017 on a 911 call requesting help for a burn victim. The caller, a friend of both Ms. Stallings and the defendant, said that she saw the defendant pour something on Stallings as Stallings was attempting to leave in her car. The defendant and victim had been in a volatile relationship for many months. The couple had been arguing and the caller said that Stallings lit herself on fire using a cigarette lighter. EMS workers found Ms. Stallings responsive and talking at the scene. She was intubated before being flown to Wake Medical. She sustained burns to over 53 percent of her body from her knees to her head.

“Moore was indicted for first-degree murder and could have potentially faced the death penalty,” Newman said. “I had two issues of concern, however, with the evidence. The first is that the defendant is overheard on the 911 call asking Ms. Stallings why she lit the lighter. While the defendant admitted to dousing Ms. Stallings with gasoline, there is a dispute about who ignited the gas. The third party witness that called 911 also suggested Stallings ignited herself. The defendant said she was suicidal and they had been arguing about her leaving the relationship.”

“Second, Ms. Stallings gave a statement to a sheriff’s detective at the hospital, but this statement would not be admissible at a trial," he added. "Hearsay evidence is inadmissible unless a legally recognized exception exists, and in this case no exception applies. So, the plea to second degree murder by Moore is a good resolution given these challenges with our evidence."

“Ms. Stallings suffered for six long months and this incident has been difficult for her family, many of whom have met with me and were in court with us at the plea hearing. The Sheriff’s Department and Henderson County EMS did a great job in this case, which presented difficult circumstances. Our community is fortunate to have the benefit of their service,” Newman concluded.