Moonda getaway

Donna Moonda runs to an SUV that spirited her away from a Christy Road home in Hermitage just before 6 p.m. Friday.

Federal prosecutors charged the widow of Dr. Gulam Moonda with arranging her husband’s death last year on the Ohio Turnpike.

Donna J. Moonda, 47, surrendered to authorities Monday afternoon at federal courthouse in Youngstown within hours after her former lover pleaded guilty to fatally shooting the Shenango Valley urologist along the toll road.

Mrs. Moonda could potentially face the death penalty on charges of interstate stalking, using a firearm during a crime of violence and aiding and abetting in her husband’s killing.

She was remanded to the custody of U.S. marshals following an initial court appearance to await a detention hearing Friday in Akron.

Earlier today, Damian R. Bradford avoided a jury trial by admitting he stalked Moonda across state lines and killed him in the presence of Mrs. Moonda and her mother, Dorothy Smouse.

Bradford, 25, pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and using a firearm during a crime of violence in a plea deal that was contingent upon his disclosing what he knows about Mrs. Moonda’s alleged role in the killing.

On Friday, Bradford told an Ohio Highway Patrol investigator that Mrs. Moonda developed the plan to kill her husband. She offered to give Bradford half of the expected $3 million to $6 million she believed she would receive from her husband’s estate, according to the affidavit charging Mrs. Moonda.

The couple married in 1990 and terms of their prenuptial agreement limited Mrs. Moonda to a total settlement of $250,000 if they divorced, according to court documents.

Mrs. Moonda would have received substantially more of the doctor’s estate valued at up to $3 million in the event of his death. Police previously valued the estate at up to $6 million. The widow is also the beneficiary of two life insurance policies totaling about $676,000, according to police.

Bradford told police he met Mrs. Moonda in Lawrence County hours before the killing to receive a map detailing the couple’s planned trip to Toledo, Ohio.

Bradford and Mrs. Moonda then communicated throughout the Moondas’ drive toward western Ohio, including a stop at the Portage service plaza about 34 miles east of the crime scene, police said.

In exchange for Bradford’s cooperation, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend he serve 17è-years in prison. The Beaver County man was facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted of either charge.

However, if he does not fully cooperate with prosecutors in the case against Mrs. Moonda, his plea deal will be voided.

Judge David D. Dowd Jr. questioned Bradford about his specific role in the killing before he approved the 10-page plea agreement.

Bradford admitted that on May 13, 2005, he followed a luxury car first driven by Moonda and then by Mrs. Moonda from their home in Hermitage, across the Ohio state line and then onto the turnpike.

When Mrs. Moonda drove to the side of the toll road south of Cleveland, Bradford’s vehicle pulled in behind them. Bradford and the doctor got out of their vehicles and Bradford flashed a handgun, ordered Moonda, 69, into the passenger seat of the car and demanded his wallet.

Moonda handed over his wallet and Bradford shot him once in the side of his face.

“Do you acknowledge those facts?” Dowd asked Bradford.

“Yes, your honor,” he replied.

The plea agreement also contains a clause that prohibits Bradford from being prosecuted for the crime in Cuyahoga County or any other Ohio court.

Michael DeRiso, one of Bradford’s two defense attorneys, said his client committed no crime in Pennsylvania so that clause would also preclude him from being charged in Pennsylvania in connection with the killing.

Trending Video