The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 2, 2014

Suspect in 1984 murder pleads innocent

Paul A. Moses entered a plea of not guilty Thursday in the 1984 murder of a 62-year-old Joplin widow named Frances Ramsey.

Moses, 65, who recently was extradited to Missouri from California, entered the plea on a charge of first-degree murder during a video arraignment in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Moses had been a fugitive for almost 30 years before his capture Aug. 30 by FBI agents in San Diego with the assistance of information dug up last summer by a Joplin police detective. He arrived at the Jasper County Jail on Dec. 23 after extradition proceedings that had been delayed more than once in California.

In the meantime, the Jasper County prosecutor’s office had filed a new count of forcible rape in the case, and the warrant for that charge was served on Moses on Dec. 27 at the jail in Carthage. He entered a separate plea of not guilty on that charge at a hearing Monday in Carthage and was ordered held without bond pending another hearing Jan. 27.

The defendant’s bond had been set at $25,000 when the murder warrant was first issued in 1984.

Ramsey’s body was discovered the morning of Aug. 11 of that year inside the unoccupied half of a duplex at 2337 S. Main St., about 14 blocks from her home in the 900 block of South Main Street.

She was a native of Indianapolis who had lived in Joplin most of her life. Her husband, Richard Ramsey, had passed away five years before her murder.

A woman who lived in the occupied half of the duplex learned that she had been the victim of a burglary when she returned home about 10:30 a.m. and found her television missing. She reported the crime, and a responding officer spotted the body when he peered through a hole in a wall into the half of the duplex that was undergoing remodeling.

The victim had suffered blunt-force trauma to her head. A bloody object recovered at the scene is believed to have been the murder weapon. Police have yet to publicly disclose what the object was.

Moses was seen leaving the 18th Street Bar on Main Street in the company of Ramsey shortly after midnight the previous night, according to police. But police were never able to locate him for questioning in the slaying.

The state warrant issued for Moses’ arrest on the murder charge led to a federal warrant being obtained by the FBI office in Kansas City alleging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Investigators say that when Moses sought Social Security benefits this past summer using his real name and Social Security number, the application tripped an alert in an FBI database, and authorities realized he was residing somewhere in the San Diego area.

Detective Larry Swinehart, with the Joplin Police Department, looked for Moses last summer in San Diego and learned that he had been frequenting a community outreach center for seniors. That information eventually led to his arrest.



DNA evidence

A PROBABLE-CAUSE AFFIDAVIT filed with a new rape charge that Paul Moses is facing in the murder of Frances Ramsey states that evidence obtained from the victim’s body was determined to match the DNA profile of the defendant.

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