Hugh Moose’s murderer will spend his life in prison with no chance of parole after pleading guilty in Iredell County Superior Court Tuesday.
Mark Pinkerton pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree burglary and was given the life sentence.
A yearlong mystery
Moose, an 80-year-old business owner who lived alone, was found shot to death in his home on Shiloh Road Jan. 10, 2017. An Iredell County Sheriff’s Office press release issued at the time said someone had called 911 and hung up. Attempts to call the number back were unsuccessful.
Sheriff Darren Campbell said he suspected someone broke into the home through a shattered glass side door.
Law enforcement asked the public for any information. Moose’s family offered a monetary reward for any information leading to an arrest.
Several people had seen a sandy-haired white man between 25-35 years old. He was about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and wearing Carhartt-style overalls or coveralls and a toboggan-style hat and carrying a backpack.
More than a year after the murder, on April 26, 2018, Pinkerton, 31, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, was charged with Moose’s murder. Pinkerton confessed when Iredell deputies arrested him in Pennsylvania.
Detectives at the time said Pinkerton had been attempting to rob Moose because he heard the 80-year-old kept cash in his home.
Detectives said Pinkerton, a convicted felon, had been in the area for a little more than a week visiting his mother.
An unnamed witness came forward with a name for deputies. A friend of his confided in him and told him Pinkerton had asked him for help robbing Moose. The friend had declined.
The witness almost immediately called detectives. Moose’s family had been on the seventh day of an ad campaign in the Record & Landmark, advertising a $30,000 reward for the person who gave information to detectives that led to the arrest.
“That was a long chase,” Campbell said. “The detectives did a great job. They followed every lead to catch the man responsible.”
Moose’s granddaughter Lindsay Moose said the family was grateful to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office for the hard work and sympathy.
Campbell and his deputies are now like family to the Mooses.
Lindsay Moose said the family was not in the courtroom Tuesday.
“There was no reason to relive the nightmare,” she said.
However, Lindsay Moose said the family was happy with the outcome and glad they wouldn’t have to wait for a trial, which could have taken place at a much later date.
“We’re pleased. We’re at peace,” Lindsay Moose said. “It’s a huge closure to know he (Pinkerton) gets pretty much what he deserves.”