Preliminary Hearing Begins for Moffet in Slayings of Woman, Security Guard

A preliminary hearing began Tuesday in the case of a convicted rapist accused of the 1979 rape and slaying of a Point Loma woman, as well as a 1987 crime rampage and the slaying of a security guard.

Jessie Ray Moffet, 30, was being held on a parole violation in Vacaville State Prison when he was arrested Christmas Eve for the murder of the security guard after two co-defendants in the crime said he was the triggerman.

The two--Michael Murphy, 31, and Frank Shipp, 21--have pleaded guilty to their roles in the killing, which occurred after the robbery and kidnaping of a Kearny Mesa woman who was forced to lead the three to the hotel where her boyfriend was staying.

Moffet is charged with killing Glenn Avery, 67, who stumbled upon the attempted burglary of the boyfriend’s auto at the Montgomery Field Holiday Inn.


Moffet is also charged with the rape and brutal killing of Debra Owen, 20, whose badly beaten body was discovered April 11, 1979, in a construction ditch behind the Linda Vista Park and Recreation Center.

Moffet is also charged with eight robberies, five burglaries, one kidnaping for ransom, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The district attorney’s office may file special-circumstances allegations in the case, a move that would make Moffet eligible to be sentenced to the gas chamber if convicted.

Moffet is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. The preliminary hearing is expected to last two weeks.