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Arizona Landlord Convicted In 1987 Death Of Woman Found Raped, Murdered In Her Bathtub

Larry Leroy Moore was Dianna Lowery's landlord 35 years ago. Prosecutors and a Texas jury have now both said he was also the man who raped and murdered her.

By Dorian Geiger
Larry Moore Bexar Sheriff

An Arizona man was found guilty in the murder of his next door neighbor and tenant who was murdered and sexually assaulted in her apartment bathroom more than 35 years ago.

A jury in Texas convicted Larry Leroy Moore, 69, of capital murder in the 1987 slaying of Dianna “Dee Dee” Lowery, 25, on Friday, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office said. Moore had been indicted by a grand jury on capital murder in Lowery’s death in 2018. 

Lowery was found strangled to death in a bathtub at her home in San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 29, 1987. Though wearing a bathrobe when she was discovered, she’d been sexually assaulted and her mouth was sealed shut with duct tape. An autopsy indicated Lowery died of asphyxiation, and her death was ruled a homicide.

For years, the San Antonio Police Department failed to make any arrests in the case, and the investigation into Lowery’s murder eventually went cold.

In 2004, Lowery’s mother — who was then terminally ill — contacted detectives, and stated she wanted to “see justice for her daughter before she died,” according to a prosecutor’s press release.

Investigators at that point zeroed in on Moore as a potential suspect. He was indicted in September 2005, but the case was dismissed more than two years later by the prosecutor's office, pending additional evidence.

Lowery’s mother later died before Moore could be tried, officials said.

In 2018, Lowery’s niece reached out to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and inquired as to why the case had been dismissed more than a decade earlier. After re-examining the case file, then District Attorney Nico LaHood found sufficient probable cause to prosecute Moore on capital murder charges.

Moore, who had lived in a duplex next door to Lowery in the late 1980s, was her landlord at the time of the slaying. He had a spare set of keys to her apartment and had a cordial relationship with her and her boyfriend, the San Antonio Express News reported.

DNA evidence found on rectal swabs implicated Moore in Lowery’s killing.

During Moore's week-long trial, Lowery’s boyfriend, Andrew Martin, testified that he’d found her body after following a “smell of death” to the home’s bathroom after returning from work on the night of the murder in January 1987, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

“He was 33 years-old at the time,” Bexar County Assistant Criminal District Attorney Talia Triesch said of Moore during closing arguments, according to Courthouse News Service. “He played basketball, threw darts, mowed lawns sometimes.

"He also raped and murdered his tenant," she added. "Why did he do it? What’s the motive? We may never know. But that he did do it — that we know.”

Prosecutors previously indicated they wouldn’t seek the death penalty against the 69-year-old Moore, who faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

“This defendant may have thought as time passed he had gotten away with this brutal crime," District Attorney Joe Gonzales told Oxygen.com in a statement. "Time was on the side of science, which evolved to help identify Larry Moore as Ms. Lowery’s killer. The team of dedicated cold case detectives and our prosecutors finally brought justice to the memory of Ms. Lowery."

Moore’s defense attorney, meanwhile, blasted the verdict and the state’s evidence, which he characterized as lacking. 

“It doesn’t make sense, there’s no motive,” McKay said. “There’s no reason to kill her.”

Moore’s legal team is expected to appeal the verdict, but McKay wasn't immediately available for comment when contacted on Monday.

Moore has been remanded without bond and is awaiting transfer to a state prison, county officials confirmed with Oxygen.com on Monday morning.

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