UHRICHSVILLE — The cases of the three suspects believed to have been involved in the murder of a 19-year-old New Philadelphia man will be heard by a Tuscarawas County grand jury.
After a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon in the Southern District of Tuscarawas County Court, Judge Brad L. Hillyer determined there was probable cause to bind over the cases of Arnoldo Moreno-Orduno, 19, of Dillonvale; Kyle G. Boyd, 22, of Mingo Junction; and Jordan C. Robinson, 20, of Bloomingdale.
All three are charged in connection with the Sept. 11 killing of Luke W. Cabbage.
The three suspects are all charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy. Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer has said the charges are not final but were being used to hold the suspects until the case went to a grand jury.
During the preliminary hearing, Styer and Assistant Prosecutor Mike Ernest called Detective Lt. Jeff Moore of the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department as the state’s only witness. Moore’s testimony revealed that Moreno-Orduno, Boyd and Robinson gave law enforcement authorities conflicting stories of who killed Cabbage.
Cabbage was found dead from a gunshot wound to his back at 7:24 a.m. Sept. 11 in the 500 block of Tuscarawas Avenue in Newcomerstown. Moore said a resident leaving for work in the morning discovered the body.
Moore began his investigation in Newcomerstown around 10:30 a.m. the day Cabbage’s body was discovered. The first suspect he was led to was Moreno-Orduno. Cabbage’s mother was able to see who her son interacted with on his cell phone and provided Moore with a cell phone number that contacted Cabbage between midnight and 3 a.m. Sept. 11. The number was traced to its owner, a 51-year-old man living in Dillonvale, but the primary user of the phone was Moreno-Orduno. Moore and authorities from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office went to the Dillonvale residence and learned Moreno-Orduno resided there.
Moreno-Orduno was not home at the time, but he was hiding in nearby woods because a relative living with him was upset that a gun was missing. Eventually, Moreno-Orduno came out of the woods and was questioned by authorities. Moore testified that Moreno-Orduno said he, Boyd and Robinson drove from Jefferson County to Newcomerstown in the hours leading up to Cabbage’s death.
Moreno-Orduno said he parked Robinson’s car near a gas station and that Robinson and Boyd exited the vehicle and returned to it 10 minutes later. When they returned, according to what Moore said Moreno-Orduno told him, Boyd and Robinson had cocaine and Cabbage’s jacket. Moreno-Orduno said Boyd admitted to shooting Cabbage "and that he had done something bad," Moore said. Moore also testified that he knew the area Moreno-Orduno was talking about where the car was parked and where Cabbage was shot, but it didn’t make sense with his story.
Moore’s interrogation with Robinson indicated that Moreno-Orduno shot Cabbage. Robinson’s story was that the three men left Dillonvale to purchase $700 worth of drugs from Cabbage. When the three suspects eventually arrived in Newcomerstown and met with Cabbage, Moreno-Orduno left the car. Robinson said he heard "a faint shot," according to Moore’s testimony, and minutes later Moreno-Orduno returned to the car and had Cabbage’s shoes, jacket and cell phone. Robinson told Moore that no one had money on them. The only drugs that were retrieved was a small handful of cocaine.
Furthermore, Moore said Robinson told him the gun used in the alleged murder was silver and had hollow-point bullets, and that it came from Moreno-Orduno’s residence. Moore said he bluffed and told Robinson there was a witness, which caused Robinson to change his story. Originally, Robinson said he and Boyd were about a block away when Moreno-Orduno allegedly shot Cabbage. Now, Robinson told Moore that he and Boyd where right at the scene when Cabbage was shot. Robinson also told Moore that Moreno-Orduno took Cabbage’s jacket, shoes, cell phone and cocaine, and drove back to Jefferson County.
In interviewing Boyd about the crime, Moore said there weren’t many details coming to light. Moore testified that Boyd said he was under the influence of Xanax and alcohol when the three men drove to Newcomerstown. Boyd admitted he knew a robbery was going to happen because it was discussed among the three suspects at Moreno-Orduno’s residence. Boyd said if he had known that Cabbage was going to be killed, he would’ve done what he could to alert Cabbage and police. Boyd awoke in Newcomerstown when Cabbage was said to have entered the back seat of the car the suspects were in, but he passed out again.
"He could not provide me very many details," Moore said about Boyd’s recollection of the ride from Jefferson County to Newcomerstown.
Boyd told Moore that he did not see or hear any shooting of a firearm.
After interviewing Boyd and Robinson, Moore said he followed up with Moreno-Orduno on Sept. 13. He said Moreno-Orduno kept changing his story of how he shot Cabbage. Moreno-Orduno told Moore that Cabbage pulled a gun on him. Moreno-Orduno allegedly reached for his own gun in his waistline and struck it against Cabbage’s gun, causing it to shoot Cabbage in the chest. Moore said that didn’t make sense because the Tuscarawas County Coroner determined Cabbage was shot in the back. Moreno-Orduno continued to give two more versions of a shooting, ultimately admitting he shot Cabbage in the back.
When questioned by the three attorneys representing the suspects — Eugene O’Byrne, Francesca Carinci and Steven Stickles — Moore said he believed Moreno-Orduno shot Cabbage, and that Cabbage entered the vehicle before being shot. He also stated that the motive was to rob Cabbage of drugs.
The stolen property from Cabbage was said to have been disposed of on U.S. Route 250 near Tappan Dam in Harrison County, and near the Jefferson-Harrison County line. None of the property has been recovered. The suspects said the cocaine was taken back to Jefferson County and consumed.
Hillyer also continued bond for the accused: $5 million for Moreno-Orduno, and $2 million for Boyd and Robinson. The suspects are housed in the Tuscarawas County jail. They were arrested Sept. 12 and 13 in Jefferson County.
Alex Knisely is a staff writer at The Times-Reporter