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July 6, 2007

Moonda’s wife found guilty of murder

AKRON, Ohio — A Pennsylvania woman accused of offering her younger lover a share of her husband’s multimillion-dollar estate if he would kill the 69-year-old was convicted Friday of murder-for-hire and other charges.

The defense had argued that Donna Moonda’s 25-year-old lover, Damian Bradford, had acted alone and that Moonda had tried to revive her doctor husband after Bradford shot him along the Ohio turnpike. Federal prosecutors said the two were in it together and portrayed Moonda as a perpetual liar, thief and drug user.

Moonda, who quietly cried when the verdict was read, could receive the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Bradford, the key witness, has admitted to shooting Dr. Gulam Moonda in the side of the head on May 13, 2005, after his wife pulled over on the turnpike south of Cleveland, supposedly to let her husband take the wheel.

The jury also convicted Moonda of interstate stalking and two counts of using or carrying a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

As U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. read the four guilty verdicts, Moonda went from holding back tears, to shaking her head to quietly sobbing, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“Donna is disappointed by the verdict, I think a little bit shocked,” defense attorney Roger Synenberg said outside the courthouse.

Jurors deliberated about 8 hours over two days after more than two weeks of testimony.

“We are very gratified by the verdict today,” assistant U.S. attorney Linda Barr said.

Moonda’s defense was that Bradford, a convicted drug dealer, robbed and killed the doctor in a steroid-fueled rage. Bradford met Donna Moonda in drug rehab, according to court records.

Synenberg told jurors that if they believed Bradford, then his client came up with the worst plan to murder a husband.

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