by Pat Hart
Donna Moonda was convicted…
I followed this crime since the day it first appeared in the paper. A doctor was shot in the face at point blank range at an emergency pull-off on the Ohio turnpike. His wife and mother-in-law witnessed Dr. Moodna’s murder. They saw the gunman take the doctor’s wallet, shoot him and flee the scene.
How horrible. How random.
Until a woman scorned reported that the wife of Dr. Moonda was having an affair with a 23 year old black man (the scorned woman’s ex boyfriend). The doctor’s wife and the young man had met in drug rehab. Cell phone records revealed that the two had been in contact throughout the day of the murder, in fact within in 20 minutes of the murder the young man was known to be in the proximity murder scene and in contact with the widow.
It didn’t take long for the affair to be confirmed. Mrs. Moonda was paying the rent on the apartment in which the young man lived.
The young man confessed; it was murder for hire. The motive was Dr. Moonda’s money. The criminals were not clever, their crime was not uncommon, their method crude and their conspiracy clumsy. They were both drug addicts, which may explain their lack of cunning.
How did this happen to Donna Moonda? She was a nurse so she was more than peripherally aware of the dangers of taking painkillers. She started with a prescription for chronic pain and then became a drug addict. Exactly how does that happen? Where is your doctor? Shouldn’t they be carefully monitoring your every action from the moment they prescribe a narcotic? What do they do? Give you a script for oxycotin and a shiny tri-fold pamphlet about the dangers of taking a narcotic?
As writer I’m always curious about people’s backstory. What was Donna Moonda like as a young woman? I imagine she was a schemer and climber, marrying an older, wealthier man and then when the older man became an ‘old man’ she felt trapped. How long was this old coot going to live anyway?
And I wonder what she was like as first grader. She and I are about the same age. Was she one of those officious little girls that Sister put in charge when she had to run to the office? The little girl that would stand in front of the class, rolling piece of chalk between her fingers, ready to record any transgressions on the blackboard? Or maybe she was one of those girls that hung around the fringes of the clutch of bad boys in the back of the room. She’d wait for one of them to throw a paper wad or drop their books or make a loud rude noise so she could explode into giggles and blush and toss her hair around. Or was Donna Moonda a morose and kind of dirty girl whose family was odd and whose mother came to school in her housedress?
What do you think? What kind of child grows up to commit murder, not serial killer murder, but a selfish, personal murder of a ‘loved’ one?