It was the kind of crime that a community remembers forever: Following reports of burglaries, a 16-year veteran Coeur d’Alene Police officer enters an area of the Lake City after midnight. The officer encounters an armed man and is shot in the head.
Sgt. Greg Moore died several hours later on May 5, 2015, after medical efforts to save him ended. He was later awarded the Idaho Medal of Honor in a ceremony that included his son and father.
Today, Kootenai County officials will gather scores of residents to the courthouse to begin the selection of a jury, who will decide the fate of Jonathan D. Renfro, 29, charged with first-degree murder and several other charges in connection to Moore’s death.
The jury’s task could come in two stages. If it eventually decides during a trial – which could include more than 100 witnesses and dozens of experts – that Renfro is guilty of first-degree murder, it would then be asked in a separate hearing whether the defendant should also face the death penalty.
The case will be prosecuted by Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh and deputies David Robins and Jed Whitaker. The defense includes Twin Falls attorney Keith Roark, who was appointed to represent Renfro along with Deputy Kootenai County Public Defenders Jay Logsdon and Linda Payne.
First District Judge Lansing Haynes, himself a former Kootenai County deputy prosecutor, has issued a gag order that prevents the attorneys from commenting on the case.
But last year, prosecutors alleged in a written motion that Renfro not only admitted his involvement in the shooting but predicted he may have been targeting police. The motion was filed last year to bolster the state’s case for aggravating factors that may be used in its effort to seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors claimed, in the motion, that Renfro showed his girlfriend the gun that was later determined to be the one that killed Moore. Renfro, who was on felony parole at the time, displayed the gun a the day before the deadly encounter.
“The defendant boasted that a bullet within the magazine was a ‘cop killer’ bullet,” the motion states, according to court records. “When asked about what he would do if stopped by law enforcement, the defendant claimed he would go down murdering police officers.”
The motion also claims that while in jail, Renfro has laughed about committing certain aspects of the crime during phone conversations.