Donna moonda

Donna Moonda, whose husband Dr. Gulam Moonda, 65, was shot and killed May 13, 2005, in a roadside murder on the Ohio Turnpike, is shown during a May 17, 2005, interview in her Hermitage home.

In a case of turnabout is fair play, prosecutors in Donna J. Moonda’s murder-for-hire trial used the same strategy in their closing arguments that the defense had used in its opening. The defense had portrayed Damian R. Bradford as a liar who later made up a story implicating Mrs. Moonda in the death of her husband, Dr. Gulam H. Moonda, to get a break on jail time.

Bradford, 25, of Beaver County, has admitted shooting Dr. Moonda, 69, of Hermitage, on May 13, 2005, along the Ohio Turnpike in Cuyahoga County. He said Mrs. Moonda, 48, of Hermitage, put him up to it in return for half of what she would have inherited from Dr. Moonda’s estate. Testimony showed Bradford had lied in previous unrelated court proceedings and to police investigating Dr. Moonda’s death.

Prosecutors on Thursday pointed out instances where Mrs. Moonda has lied, undercutting the validity of her statements to police. She lied on a loan application for a car, lied to Bradford about her age, and lied to UPMC Horizon, Greenville, to cover up that she was stealing drugs.

She also employed a full-scale deception to keep from her family her drug problem, firing and relationship with Bradford. Dr. Moonda became aware of the affair when a girlfriend of Bradford’s told him.

“She deceived every single person in her life that we know of,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda H. Barr.

With the verifiable facts of her legacy of deception in place, prosecutors cast dispersion on statements Mrs. Moonda had given police.

Mrs. Moonda said the man who shot her husband was the same height as Dr. Moonda, 5 foot 3 inches tall, when Bradford is 5 feet 10 inches tall.

“Donna Moonda saw Damian Bradford standing right next to her husband,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy L. Kelley.

Mrs. Moonda had told police she was focused on performing CPR on her husband so that he would not die, but did not tell a 911 dispatcher or a passerby that he had been shot.

She told police that Dr. Moonda flashed his wallet containing a large amount of cash at a turnpike service plaza, when a plaza video showed she was holding the wallet.

And Mrs. Moonda said she would never forget the voice of the shooter -- a voice that she knew through hundreds of telephone conversations and intimate visits, Ms. Barr said.

“At least Damian Bradford never pretended to be something he wasn’t,” she said.

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