"It allowed us to say that it was abundantly clear that the man in court [Moorer] was the same man wearing the knapsack near the time of the murder," Gargan said.
DeMarco denied Moorer's attempt to suppress the evidence, determining that Moorer had abandoned the knapsack because he did not live in the house or have any connections to people who did live there. Thus, he concluded that authorities could use the contents of the bag as evidence.
On Jan. 31, DeMarco found Moorer guilty of first-degree manslaughter after a non-jury trial. Moorer, 21, faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 13.
DeMarco said in his Feb. 8 written ruling that he felt compelled to explain his 2012 ruling that the knapsack was admissible.
Also, because DeMarco said no New York state court has addressed the "ping" question, he wanted to discuss the legal implications of Moorer's contention that his expectation of privacy had been violated.
DeMarco rejected Moorer's argument that the ping constituted an unreasonable search under the Court of Appeals' interpretation of the state Constitution in People v. Weaver, 12 NY3d 433 (2009).
DeMarco said Moorer differed from Weaver, which concerned the police's warrantless, surreptitious attachment of a GPS device to a suspect's vehicle to track his movements for nearly two months (NYLJ, May 14, 2009). In addition, DeMarco concluded that the element of voluntary use of the phone in Moorer was not a factor in Weaver, where the GPS device was not consciously turned on or off by the suspect.
But DeMarco said Weaver and Moorer were similar in the way they highlighted "issues that advances in technology present for the courts."
Gargan said authorities did not seek to use conversations from Moorer's cell as evidence against him in Reid's killing, just to find his phone as a way of locating Moorer and taking him into custody. Though they did not pan out, police had suspicions that Moorer may have been responsible for other attacks immediately after Reid's slaying, Gargan said.
Moorer was eventually arrested on July 10, 2011, Gargan said.