Monday, May 1, 2017
The lawyer Aliza Sherman hired to represent her in a messy 2013 divorce admitted to lying to his client and to Cleveland police homicide investigators before and after the Beachwood nurse and mother of two was stabbed to death outside his downtown office.
Gregory J. Moore, 43, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of inducing panic, which are low-level felony charges, and to a misdemeanor count of falsification.
Moore faces a maximum of three years behind bars. Judge John D. Sutula will sentence Moore on May 23.
Moore was set to face trial Wednesday on tampering with evidence, falsification, obstructing official business, telecommunication fraud, forgery, inducing panic and making terroristic threats. Prosecutors dropped all the remaining charges against him in exchange for his plea.
The conviction comes more than four years after the March 24, 2013 killing that saw a hooded assailant stab Sherman 11 times on the sidewalk outside Moore's office in the Erieview building. Police found no evidence that Sherman, a Cleveland Clinic nurse who lived in Beachwood, was robbed.
Moore was representing Sherman in a protracted and contentious divorce from her husband, and was scheduled to meet her that afternoon at his office to finalize the arguments for their trial.
Moore texted Sherman in the minutes before and after the stabbing to say he was waiting to meet her at his office inside the Erieview building, according to the indictment.
But prosecutors examined phone records, electronic keycard data from the building and statements from witnesses and concluded that Moore had left his office an hour before the stabbing and did not return until more than an hour after police found Sherman bleeding heavily on the sidewalk, according to court records.
The day after the killing, Moore told two Cleveland police homicide detectives that he was inside his office at the time of Sherman's death, records say.
The indictment also includes three counts of terroristic threats and six counts of inducing panic in connection with three bomb threats Moore is accused of calling in to courthouses in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties the year before Sherman's death. Moore was an attorney at Stafford and Stafford at the time.
Sherman's slaying sparked vigils, marches and calls for justice by her friends and family members. On each anniversary of the slaying, more than 100 people gathered outside Erieview building and marched to the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
It also sparked a family rift. Sherman's daughter, Jennifer Sherman, filed a civil lawsuit claiming that Sanford Sherman, her father and Aliza Sherman's estranged husband, hid money in a bank account that he opened in his wife's name.
Jennifer Sherman dropped the lawsuit in February, according to court records.
Then-Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said after Moore was indicted in February 2016 that the charges took investigators closer to bringing Sherman's killer to justice.
But, more than a year later, prosecutors and Cleveland police have yet to identify a suspect in her killing.
Hat tip to William Crosby. (Mike Frisch)