Retrial June 27 for admitted shooter who claims self-defense in Chester councilman killing

Christopher Moore in court in 2016
Christopher Moore in court in 2016 Herald file photo

A retrial on murder charges is set for June 27 against the admitted shooter in the 2014 death of Chester City Councilman Odell Williams. It comes just two months after the first trial ended with a hung jury.

Christopher Moore, the admitted killer, blames Williams. Prosecutors and police blame Moore.

The trial in Fairfield County alleging Christopher Moore committed murder despite Moore claiming self-defense after Williams shot first is expected to be in the same courthouse in front of the same judge where a dozen jurors last month could not decide if the killing was justified or murder.

Moore could end up with life in prison if convicted – or walk out a free man if a second jury sides with his self-defense claim.

Moore’s lawyer, 6th Circuit Deputy Public Defender William Frick, confirmed to The Herald that he is planning for trial June 27.

“It is my understanding that the state will call the case that week of June 27 in Fairfield County, and we are preparing to go to trial again on that date,” Frick said.

Moore admitted during the weeklong trial that ended April 23 with a hung jury that he shot at Williams “a bunch of times,” but claimed he had no choice after Williams chased Moore and others through Chester streets Nov. 4, 2014. Moore testified his life was in danger.

“I had to defend my life.” Moore testified last month.

Prosecutors have balked at Moore’s claims of self-defense, claiming that Moore shot a rifle at Williams 18 times and Moore tried to “blame the victim” after Moore lay in wait to shoot Williams. Additionally, Moore initially lied to police repeatedly after the crime, denying any involvement before changing his story to self-defense.

Prosecutors could not be reached for comment on scheduling but the S.C. Judicial Department website shows a criminal court term added to Fairfield County the week of June 27 with Judge Paul Burch of Chesterfield County holding court. Burch, the trial judge in April, declared a mistrial after jurors were deadlocked after deliberating for two days.

The April trial in Winnsboro featured not just Moore admitting he was the shooter, but fellow gang members testifying of a plot to rob others of money owed for drugs before Williams chased Moore and the gang members, allegedly firing first.

Williams, 69, was a retired Chester police officer who had been a city councilman for 20 years when he was killed. The chase went on for miles with Williams eventually shot in the head.

Moore remains jailed without bond pending trial. The trial was moved from Chester County to Fairfield because Frick, Moore’s lawyer, argued publicity took away any chance for Moore to receive a fair trial in Chester County.