ST. LOUIS — Surveillance videos from before and during a fatal shooting in 2018 outside a hookah lounge in the city’s Grove district were not enough for a St. Louis jury to convict a Northwoods man of murder.

Jurors deliberated for a little more than two hours Wednesday before acquitting Richard Moore, 29, of murdering 27-year-old Ollie Coleman outside the ShiSha Restaurant & Lounge, 4229 Manchester Avenue, on Jan. 29, 2018. The jury returned not guilty verdicts on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Earlier in the day, prosecutors dropped charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action against Moore because a woman wounded in the same shooting evaded a subpoena and would not testify.

Richard E. Moore

Richard E. Moore of Northwoods is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Jan. 29, 2018, shooting death of Ollie Coleman.

Authorities alleged that after a brief argument inside the restaurant shortly after midnight, Moore, Donald Willis and another man left, but waited outside the restaurant in a Chrysler 300 for Coleman and his friends to come out.


In court this week, prosecutors relied almost exclusively on surveillance video of the brief encounter inside the lounge, and of three men leaving and getting into the car that pulled forward, with someone then firing a gun through an open passenger side window. Neither police nor prosecutors offered a motive for the killing.

With a clip of the video looping behind him on a television screen Wednesday, Assistant Circuit Attorney Alex Polta told jurors the only reasonable conclusion from the video is that it was Moore who got into the car’s rear passenger side and opened fire.


Moore did not testify. In closing arguments Wednesday, Moore’s lawyer, John Rogers, said Moore was not the shooter. He criticized a police investigation that had no one identifying Moore as the shooter, no murder weapon and no shell casings from the crime scene. He told the jurors they should expect stronger evidence than a dark surveillance video showing men getting into a car and someone with a dark sleeve firing a gun through a car window.

Donald Willis

Donald Willis, of Bellefontaine Neighbors, was charged in the Jan. 29, 2018, killing of Ollie Coleman in the city’s Grove district.

“We don’t speculate people into the penitentiary,” Rogers told jurors. After the verdict, Rogers said he is “completely shocked” the Circuit Attorney’s Office pursued a case with so little evidence, adding that Moore is grateful to the jury for their verdicts. A spokeswoman for the Circuit Attorney’s Office did not immediately comment after the verdict.


Last week another man who was in the car, Donald Willis, 30, received a 15-year prison term as part of a plea agreement. Willis admitted driving the car while another man fired a rifle from inside the vehicle several times, killing Coleman.