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FBI recaptures convicted killer Leonard Moses who spent 49 YEARS on the run

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FBI recaptures fugitive, 68, who spent 49 YEARS on the run after killing woman with Molotov cocktail during 1968 riots after MLK Jr assassination

  • Leonard Rayne Moses, 68, was captured on Thursday in Grand Blanc, Michigan
  • His fingerprints gave him up after half a century during arrest on state charges
  • Moses had been working as a traveling pharmacist under the alias ‘Paul Dickson’
  • But came under police scrutiny after he was accused of stealing opioids 
  • In 1968, he killed a woman with a Molotov cocktail during riots in Pittsburgh
  • Cities across the country were rocked by violence after MLK’s assassination
  • Moses escaped custody while attending his grandmother’s funeral in 1971

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Leonard Rayne Moses, 68, was arrested on Thursday in Grand Blanc, Michigan

A fugitive has been recaptured nearly half a century after he fled a life sentence for killing a woman with a Molotov cocktail during riots in 1968 in the aftermath of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.

Leonard Rayne Moses, 68, was arrested without incident on Thursday in Grand Blanc, Michigan by members of the FBI Detroit’s Fugitive Task Force.

For decades, Moses had been working as a traveling pharmacist under the alias ‘Paul Dickson’ after he escaped custody in 1971 while serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania

‘The arrest of Leonard Moses brings a measure of closure to the family of the victim, Mary Amplo,’ said Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen. ‘It proves the axiom that you cannot outrun your past.’ 

Moses is seen in 1968 mugshots left and right. He was convicted of killing 72-year-old Mary Amplo by throwing a Molotov cocktail into her Pittsburgh home during riots in 1968

The saga dates back to April of 1968, when cities across the nation were engulfed in riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Moses, then just 15 and living in Pittsburgh, participated in the violence, throwing Molotov cocktails at a house located in the Homewood neighborhood, prosecutors say. 

Mary Amplo, 72, was inside the home and suffered third-degree burns over 55 percent of her body, dying of pneumonia as a result of her injuries. 

Moses was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. But just a few years later, Moses escaped custody while on a pass to attend his grandmother’s funeral in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh.

A federal arrest warrant for unlawful flight to avoid confinement was issued for Moses on July 12, 1971 – but for decades, investigators hit a dead end.

Looters in Pittsburgh cart off merchandise from a market on April 7, 1968. Cities across the nation were engulfed in riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr

Rows of Pennsylvania National Guardsmen march down the street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District April 8, 1968. Residents lean from windows watching the show of force. The Guardsmen were called out to restore order following three days of arson and looting in the district

Over the years, the FBI pursued thousands of tips, and used age progression software to make a likeness of Moses’ appearance as he aged. The Bureau also put up billboards seeking him in Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. 

A $10,000 reward was also offered for information leading to his capture. 

Moses is seen in 1969, following his conviction for first-degree murder

At some point following his escape, Moses assumed the identity of Paul Dickson. 

State records show that Moses, under his alias, was licensed as a pharmacist in Michigan in 1999. 

He was working for the CVS drugstore chain when a store detective became suspicious of him after 80 hydrocodone pills went missing during his shift the day after Christmas in 2019. 

A video showed Moses pocketing the powerful opioid painkillers, according to an affidavit.

The store detective grilled Moses about the pills in January, and he claimed they had been inadvertently pocketed, according to charging documents. 

When the manager asked what he did with them, Moses claimed he ‘threw the pills out of the window on the way home from work.’

The FBI pursued thousands of tips, and used age progression software to make a likeness (far right) of Moses’ appearance as he aged, but for decades was unable to locate him

Although Moses offered to repay CVS for the pills, the pharmacy called police and pressed criminal charges.

When he was arrested and fingerprinted, local police were stunned to find that his prints came back with another identity, and a 49-year-old federal warrant.  

‘I hope this arrest brings some closure to the family members of Mary Amplo, who was killed back in 1968,’ said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. ‘Mr. Moses will now have to face justice for her murder.’ 

Moses is being held in the Genesee County Jail in Michigan pending extradition to Pittsburgh.

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