Jury convicts man of shooting, killing woman at daughter's graduation

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX – A jury has convicted a Valley man of murder in connection with the shooting death of a woman at Westview High School last year.

Found guilty of first-degree murder, Thomas Lamont Moton will be sentenced next month.

Police arrested Moton on a Friday night in late May 2012.

Investigators and prosecutors say he shot and killed Takesha Barnes, 33, while she attended her daughter’s eighth grade graduation ceremony.

Moton was Barnes’ ex-boyfriend. Police said there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship.

Investigators said Barnes tried to leave the graduation ceremony early after discovering that Moton was on his way there to find her.

Police said Moton shot Barnes in the school’s parking lot.

"She had information he was on his way over here, or was waiting for her, and unfortunately he was waiting for her and he shot her as she approached the vehicle and got into the vehicle," Avondale Police Detective Reuben Gonzales said in the hours after the shooting.

Moton fled the scene on a motorcycle, but was only able to avoid arrest for a few hours.

First-degree murder requires premeditation and is punishable by life in prison or death.

Moton’s sentencing is set for Oct. 11 in Judge Dawn Bergin’s courtroom.