Murder victim Raoul Dula, suspect Earl Moore Jr. both from Lenoir

Divers search Granite Falls pond for weapon
Jun. 22, 2013 @ 08:39 AM

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office charged Earl Franklin Moore Jr., 34, on Friday in the death and mutilation of Raoul Anton Dula, whose body was found Thursday morning in the front yard of a house in Baton.

But Moore's father doubts his son could have committed such a crime.

When informed that his son was charged with murder, Earl Moore Sr. replied with an expletive. “I don’t believe he had anything to do with it. He doesn’t have the nerve to do something like that.”

Moore Sr. said that the sheriff’s office came to his house at 2007 Valway Road in Lenoir about 4 p.m. Thursday and arrested his son, but he thought his son was being arrested for stealing 23 of his guns two weeks ago.

Moore Jr. moved out of the house after the gun thefts and had been living in the woods, Moore Sr. said.

Moore Jr. was taken to the magistrate’s office in downtown Lenoir around 1 p.m. Friday. Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, he was swiftly escorted into the magistrate’s office and back out again within five minutes.

Meanwhile, down at the Old Millpond off Falls Avenue in Granite Falls, divers with the North Catawba and Lovelady fire and rescue squads spent Friday assisting the sheriff’s office in searching the waters for a possible murder weapon. None had been found by press time Friday. Officials did not say what kind of weapon they were searching for.

Investigators have said they do not think Dula was killed where his body was found, a dead-end road several miles from Lenoir, but they have not said where they think it happened or why his body was left where it was.

Dula’s mother, Katie Dula, feared the worst after she heard about a body found in the yard at 2508 Flintsone Court around 6 a.m. Thursday.

“I don’t know whether it was my mother’s intuition or whatever, but what was clicking in my mind was, 'Call your child,'” Dula said from her Wheeler Street home. “I called his cellphone all day long, and everything that came on his cellphone came up, ‘Cannot be reached at this time.’

A visit from the sheriff’s office confirmed her worst fears.

“They asked me, 'Does Raoul live here?' I told them yes,” she recalled. “'Is he there?' No. 'When was the last time you’ve seen him?' I said 6 or 7 p.m. last night."

Deputies showed her a photograph of Raoul’s body. Like rescue workers who were called to the where the body was found Thursday, she was horrified with what she saw.

“My child was badly mutilated and abused,” she said through tears. “I saw the picture, it would blow your mind. I wanted to see him just how he was, with the blood, with the gashes. I wanted to see that. I first identified him through a shoe he had on. I know that was his shoe.

“To me, whoever did it was trying to mess him up like they did that little Zahra Baker girl, so he could not be identified.”

Dula said she had just come home from the pharmacy to get her medicine. She said she left her son, who did not have a car, at her sister’s house. As she dropped him off, she had the last conversation she would have with him.

“He said, 'Mom, what are you cooking for supper?'” she said. “I said, 'If I can stand up on my legs I’m going to cook some chicken.' He said, 'I’ll be down there, and I love you.'

“That was it.”

Dula said her son played basketball at West Caldwell High until sciatic nerve damage debilitated him, leaving him unable to run up and down the court. He was trying to break into the music business with his rapping skills.

He cultivated many friends over the years, including Dimeesha Burgess, who said she had known Dula her entire life.

“He was one of the coolest, laid back, nicest person I’ve ever met,” Burgess, 25, said in an e-mail to the News-Topic. “I cant imagine the slightest reason why someone would do this to him. I’ve never known him to be rude or mistreat anybody.

“This is truly a big loss to the African-American community here in lenoir and other surrounding counties, he was truly loved by all. We will always love Raoul aka OOLEE!” she wrote, using Raoul Dula's street name.

LaBreshea Dula, Raoul’s cousin, said she wants justice served.

“I think this was messed up, what they did to my cousin,” she said before she heard the news of Moore’s arrest. “Whoever did this, I hope they pay dearly for it."

Moore is being held in the Caldwell County Jail with no bond allowed. He is scheduled for a first-appearance hearing Monday in Caldwell District Court.