Superior Court upholds 1997 Wilkes-Barre murder conviction

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Chambers -

A Wilkes-Barre man serving a life sentence in state prison for an execution-style shooting during a 1997 drug robbery lost his latest appeal effort Friday.

Three members of the state Superior Court ruled now-retired Luzerne County Judge Joseph Augello correctly dismissed a post conviction relief petition by convicted murderer Maurice “Lite” Chambers.

A county jury in December 1997 convicted Chambers, 41, formerly of South Main Street, of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Paul Garman Jr., 20, inside a third-floor apartment at 281 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, on April 25, 1997.

Augello, who presided over the trial, sentenced Chambers to life in prison.

Chambers, currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Somerset, has lost seven other appeal attempts to overturn his conviction, court records say.

According to Times Leader archives, city police alleged Chambers, Wesley Kenyata Farmer and Rick “Done” Moore entered Garman’s apartment to buy marijuana.

Farmer, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation for his role in the killing, testified against Chambers.

Farmer said Chambers concealed a .38-caliber handgun and a sawed-off shotgun in a backpack. Prior to entering Garman’s apartment, Chambers gave Moore the shotgun, Farmer testified.

Farmer said he wanted to buy an ounce of marijuana and Garman told him it would cost $75. Garman took an ounce from a bag containing 4 ounces. Farmer gave him a $100 bill, and Garman reached to get a box with change.

As Garman reached for the box, Chambers pushed Garman’s head into a pillow and shot him in the back of the head, Farmer testified.

Police recovered the $100 bill under Garman’s body.

Chambers, Farmer and Moore allegedly fled the house with 4 ounces of marijuana, archives say.

Moore has never been captured and remains at large.

A check with District Judge Richard Cronauer’s office in Wilkes-Barre revealed Friday that an arrest warrant issued for Moore on April 29, 1997, remains active. The warrant charges Moore with criminal homicide, robbery and criminal conspiracy.

Third suspect in killing remains at large

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]