ⓘ Leon Moser
Leon Jerome Moser was an American convicted murderer from Wisconsin who was executed by the state of Pennsylvania for the 1985 murders of his ex-wife and two daughters in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was the second person to be executed by the state of Pennsylvania since the United States reinstituted the death penalty in 1976.
On March 31, 1985, Moser attended Palm Sunday services at the St. James Episcopal Church in Evansburg, Lower Providence Township, Pennsylvania. He had arranged to meet his ex-wife, Linda Moser, and his two daughters, Donna and Joanne Moser. Leon and Linda had divorced in September 1984. The girls were to spend the afternoon with Leon once the service ended. After the service, the four of them went outside to Leons car. Leon asked Linda if he could take his daughters back to visit his parents home in Wisconsin. Linda declined and an argument ensued. Joanne got into the back seat of Leons car, while Donna remained standing by the front of the car. As Linda walked back towards the church, Leon went to the back of his car and took out a bolt action rifle.
He aimed the gun at the back of Joannes head and pulled the trigger. Linda turned around and screamed as Leon aimed at her and fatally shot her in the chest. He then took aim at Donna and shot her in the head. After the shootings, Leon placed the rifle at his side and fired into the air. He fell to the ground as if shot, and remained there until the police arrived. Linda and Joanne were pronounced dead at the scene, while Donna later died at Norristown State Hospital.
2. Trial and execution
Moser had reportedly been violent towards Linda in the past. In March 1984, he had put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her. He had also previously grabbed her neck and choked her. Prior to the shootings, Moser had recently lost his job as a janitor and was also being treated at a psychiatric unit for depression.
Moser was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced to death on January 24, 1986. He refused all appeals and did not fight his execution. He made a statement in court in 1986 in which he said "All I want to do, sir, is just die. Just give me the death penalty, sir. Please? And please have it carried out as soon as possible, sir. Please?".
Moser was executed by lethal injection on August 16, 1995, at State Correctional Institution – Rockview. He declined to make a final statement. His last meal was two slices of pizza, cold cuts, pasta salad, a frosted cup cake and Coca-Cola. He became the second person to be executed by the state of Pennsylvania since the resumption of the death penalty in 1976. He remains the second of only three people to be executed in Pennsylvania since the resumption of the death penalty. The others were Keith Zettlemoyer in May 1995 and Gary M. Heidnik in 1999.
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