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Georgia Man Sentenced For Killing Business Partner, Soliciting Murder of Co-Conspirator

Jerry Moore co-owned the "Best Dang Bakery Around" in Woodstock, Georgia, until a former employee, Johnathan Allan Wheeler, stabbed him 23 times in his home at the behest of Moore's business partner, Ross Byrne. 

By Jax Miller
A police handout of Ross Byrne

A Georgia man has been sentenced for his role in his business partner’s 2014 murder as well as his later attempts to have his co-conspirator killed behind bars.

Ross Byrne, 58, received a 20-year sentence after being accused of orchestrating the murder of his roommate and business partner, Jerry Moore, according to the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office in a statement emailed to Oxygen.com.

Together, Byrne and Moore owned the “Best Dang Bakery Around” in Woodstock, Georgia until, in 2013, the long-time friends began to disagree over how the business was handled, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Moore reportedly accused Byrne of having a spending problem, which was contributing to the business’s decline, and asked Byrne to move out. He also reportedly began drafting documents to end their business partnership

On Jan. 27, 2014 — less than four weeks after Byrne moved out — Moore, 46, was found dead in his Marietta home, according to the Atlanta outlet. Prosecutors said he was stabbed 32 times. 

Former bakery employee, Johnathan Wheeler, was convicted of Moore’s murder, which a Cobb County judge referred to as “brutal and vicious” when handing down two life sentences without the possibility of parole in August 2018, per the Marietta Daily Journal. Byrne's involvement came up repeatedly at Wheeler's trial.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans called the murder “one of the worst crime scenes that I ever had to experience.”

The murder weapon was never recovered but Crystal Wheeler — Johnathan Wheeler's cousin with whom prosecutors said he also had a sexual relationship, according to the Marietta Daily Journal — testified that Moore was killed with a novelty knife that had the words “Redneck Toothpick” etched on it. Cynthia Wheeler was arrested in 2014 and convicted in 2016 of helping clean the scene, stage it as a robbery and stealing from the dead man, according to the Journal-Constitution and the East Cobb News.

But just one week after a jury convicted Wheeler for the murder, prosecutors say Wheeler’s girlfriend came forward and claimed that Byrne had also played a part in Moore’s murder, according to the Journal-Constitution. She said that Wheeler went to Byrne's house after the murder, where Byrne helped clean Moore's blood and took possession of some of the stolen items, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

It was unclear if the woman prosecutors referred to as Wheeler’s girlfriend was the same woman as his cousin, but Byrne reportedly helped both Wheelers pay bills after coming into possession of the business, according to the East Cobb News.

Byrne gained complete control of the business upon the death of his business partner, according to the Journal-Constitution. Both Byrne and Moore owned 50 percent of the bakery, which had been valued at around $70,000 at the time of Moore's death.

Byrne was charged with a number of crimes after the revelations from Wheeler's girlfriend, including three counts of felony murder and conspiracy to hinder prosecution, as previously reported, in August 2018congrats.

Those charges were amended in October 2019 to include a violation of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act.

But prosecutors claimed Byrne didn’t stop there: According to their statement, Byrne also tried to have Wheeler killed while behind bars.

“While in custody, Byrne solicited another inmate to kill Wheeler, fearful that Wheeler may testify against him,” said Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady Jr. in his statement. “Byrne’s plot was discovered.”

It was unclear how far Byrne got with his plans to have Wheeler killed.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green, who prosecuted both Wheeler’s and Byrne’s cases, addressed Byrne’s foiled plans to have Wheeler killed, as reported by the Journal-Constitution.

“Despite having introduced Jerry Moore to his killer, this defendant showed absolutely no remorse for Johnathan Wheeler’s vicious killing.”

Byrne pleaded guilty to violation of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, conspiracy to commit concealing the death of another, conspiracy to commit hindering apprehension of another, and criminal solicitation to commit murder on April 8.

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