Legally certified as an adult, 15-year-old Chantilly High freshman Christian Allen Moore pleaded guilty to two felonies last week in Fairfax County Circuit Court. He entered pleas to one count each of robbery and attempted robbery.
His accomplice, a 14-year-old Centreville boy, was placed on indefinite probation for his part in the crimes and was sent to the Boys Probation House in Fairfax. Centre View is not revealing his name because, for legal purposes, he remains a juvenile.
Police arrested the pair in March after they either robbed or tried to rob delivery people from two different Chinese-food restaurants in Centreville. And last Tuesday, June 5, Moore appeared before Judge Kathleen MacKay to own up to what he did. But before accepting his pleas, she asked him a series of questions.
“Do you fully understand the charges against you?” she asked. “Yes, ma’am,” he replied. “Are you entering your pleas freely and voluntarily … and because you are, in fact, guilty of these crimes, as charged?” asked MacKay. Again, Moore answered affirmatively.
She also made him aware that, by pleading guilty, he lost his right to remain silent and to have a trial. And when she asked him if he was currently on probation from Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for a previous offense, he said he was.
So MacKay then advised Moore that the juvenile judge who’d given him that probation could now “take action against” him because of his new convictions. And although the attorneys haven’t made any agreement as to the length of the sentence he’ll receive for the robberies, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Sullivan said it’s all right with him if Moore serves a portion of his sentence in the juvenile justice system until he’s 18.
“MR. MOORE, you are very young and you are pleading guilty to a very serious crime today,” said MacKay. “Because of [your robbery conviction], you could be put in with adults in prison for anywhere from five years to life. And the law says you could go to prison for two to 10 years for the attempted robbery.”
Furthermore, she told the teen-ager, “I could have these sentences run consecutively, one after the other. And the [state sentencing] guidelines are just a recommendation — I don’t have to do what they say.” Then, satisfied that Moore fully understood the consequences of his guilty pleas, MacKay officially accepted his pleas.
The victims were a Fairfax woman, 40, delivering food March 4 from Peking Express, and a Manassas man, 36, delivering food March 9 from Charlie Chiang’s. And Sullivan explained what happened in each case.
He said that, on March 4, “the defendant and his cohort” were in the 5300 block of Rosemallow Circle in Centreville. “According to the witness, this defendant suggested they rob this victim,” said the prosecutor. “He placed a food order at a Chinese restaurant for delivery and the co-defendant gave him a gun wrapped in plastic. [Moore] then robbed the delivery person and returned with the food and $10.”
On March 9, said Sullivan, Moore used a BB gun wrapped in black tape. “When the delivery man pulled up in his car, [Moore] went to the car window, pointed the gun at the delivery person and demanded money,” said Sullivan. “He yelled at [the man] to get out of the car and then kicked the victim in the leg. He didn’t get any money.”
In a March 20 affidavit for a search warrant to look for evidence of these crimes in Moore’s Chantilly home, police Det. Gary Bailey presented additional details. Both stick-ups happened in the Fair Crest neighborhood, and Bailey wrote that the latter robbery attempt was foiled when another vehicle approached with its headlights on.
Bailey and another detective, Eric Deane, began investigating and eventually received a tip about the suspects. During an interview, wrote Bailey, one of the teen boys admitted that he and the other teen committed the robberies and also “handed over the gun that was used.”
Moore was arrested March 20, and the 14-year-old, March 21. Initially, police charged each of them with two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, plus one count each of robbery and attempted robbery.
ON APRIL 9 in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, the 14-year-old pleaded no contest to use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. And on May 23, Judge Kimberly Daniels sentenced him to indefinite probation and ran all his charges concurrently. She also ordered him to receive a bed-to-bed transfer from the Juvenile Detention Center to the Boys Probation House, where he’ll serve out his sentence.
Moore also appeared April 9 in J & DR Court, at which time, said his attorney Warren McLain, he was certified as an adult. His firearms charges were dropped, but the robbery offenses went to the grand jury — which indicted Moore, April 16. Then last Tuesday, June 5 — in front of his mother and grandparents — he pleaded guilty in Circuit Court.
MacKay set his sentencing for Sept. 7 and ordered a pre-sentencing investigation done on him. Sullivan said the adult probation office will do it and will confer about it with the juvenile probation officer. And until sentencing, he added, Moore “will remain in the Juvenile Detention facility.”