FBI arrests fugitive nearly 50 years after he escaped custody

FBI arrests fugitive nearly 50 years after he escaped custody
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The FBI announced Friday the arrest of a fugitive nearly 50 years after he escaped custody in 1971.

Leonard Rayne Moses fled from police custody as a teenager while serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, an act committed during civil unrest sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, according to a press release.

FBI investigators said they were able to track Moses to Michigan on Thursday by matching his 1968 fingerprints to fingerprints taken during an arrest in the Great Lake State this year, according to FBI Pittsburgh's special agent in charge Michael Christman in a press conference.


The process is known as the bureau's Next Generation Identification system, Christman said, adding, "It's these new advances in technology that the FBI must continue to identify and use to make sure those who commit crimes are brought to justice."

Following unrest in Pittsburg after the assassination of King, Moses and others threw Molotov cocktails at a house on April 6, 1968, resulting in a victim inside to suffer burns that resulted in her death months later.

The victim was Mary Amplo, who died from pneumonia while recovering from her burn wounds.

Moses was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

However, Pennsylvania Supreme Court judges disputed whether Moses, 16 at the time, was too young to make a voluntary waiver of his Miranda warnings and concluded the case should be remanded for a new trial.

Despite winning in court, Moses escaped custody on June 1, 1971, while attending his grandmother's funeral in Pittsburg.


He assumed the identity of Paul Dickson, which he has used as an alias since at least 1999.

Moses used his alias for his employment as a traveling pharmacist in Michigan.

The FBI's Detroit Fugitive Task Force arrested Moses at his home in Grand Blanc, Mich., on Thursday.

Moses is currently pending an extradition hearing and still faces Michigan state charges for a separate arrest earlier this year before returning to Pennsylvania.

“I hope this arrest brings some closure to the family members of Mary Amplo, who was killed back in 1968,” said Christman. “Mr. Moses will now have to face justice for her murder.