The upcoming episode of Dateline NBC titled “Family Business” focuses on the murder of Roberto Ayala, who was killed in an explosion on the Moore brothers’ farms.
Ayala was killed when he turned on an irrigation pump at a rice field at the Moore brothers’ farm in Colusa County, and though investigators initially believed the explosion was an accident, they soon realized there was more to the case.
Paul Moore was arrested five months after the explosion after a search warrant was executed at his home by the Colusa County Sherrif’s Office assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.
Here’s what you should know about Roberto Ayala’s murder:
1. Ayala’s Son Fabian Was With Him When He Died
The day that Ayala died, his then 7-year-old son Fabian was with him in the field.
“I yelled his name out, and he wasn’t answering,” Fabian Ayala told Dateline. “So… I’m gonna go and try and get help.”
Fabian ran for about 2 miles through the farms to find someone to help his father, who unfortunately died at the scene of the explosion.
2. Paul and Peter Moore Allegedly Resented Ayala
Roberto Ayala had worked for the Moore brothers for 19 years, and brothers Paul and Peter Moore reportedly shared animosity toward Ayala.
According to Case Law, Paul Moore regarded the Ayala brothers with animosity and said of Roberto, “Those son-of-a-b******, they are trying to take over my life. I’m going to get that F*****.”
Though there was no DNA evidence or fingerprints on the explosive device, the jury found Paul Moore guilty.
3. The Police Received Letters About the Bomb During the Investigation
According to CBS Sacramento, the Sheriff’s Office received a letter on August 12, 2011 claiming responsibility for detonating the bomb.
Three days later, they received another letter containing a diagram of the device. ATF described the device as a “destructive device in the electrical panel.”
On December 6 of 2011, agents searched Paul Moore’s home and found evidence linking him to the crime, leading to his arrest. He was found guilty of the crime in 2013.
Moore insisted it was his cousin, Peter Moore, who actually killed Ayala.
4. Paul Moore is Serving Life in Prison for the Murder
Paul Moore is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The conviction was upheld by the court of appeals in 2016.
“Paul was afforded a fair trial,” the appeals court said at the time. “His trial lawyer provided excellent representation and advocacy. But 12 jurors of Paul’s peers found that the circumstantial evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he murdered Roberto Ayala, and we must respect their verdict.”
The court also discussed “an abundance” of circumstantial evidence that “either Peter or Paul, or perhaps Peter and Paul together, built and planted the bomb that killed Roberto Ayala.”
After the conviction, the ATF put out a statement about the case.
“The dangers of manufacturing illegal devices cannot be understated,” said Special Agent in Charge Riehl. “Without question violent crime is ATF’s top priority and along with our state, local and federal partners we will continue to aggressively pursue these criminals and hold them accountable for their crimes.”
5. Ayala’s Family Received $20 Million in a Wrongful Death Suit
In December 2016, a Colusa County judge approved a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2013 by Ayala’s family against Moore Brothers, Arlan Moore, Paul Moore and Roger Moore.
The settlement awarded the family $20 million as well as $44,800 in worker’s compensation payment.
“I don’t imagine my clients will see anything of it,” Sacramento lawyer Justin Gingery told the Colusa County Sun Herald.
Dateline NBC airs at 9 p.m. on Friday nights.
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