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Richard James Moore was born on Oct. 2, 2010, at Riverton Memorial Hospital. He was 6 pounds and 14 ounces. A soft wisp of hair covered his small head.
"I bawled when I saw him," the mother said. "Everything I ever wanted was right there in my arms."
From the moment he was born, RJ became the subject of hundreds of photos. Sequoia Moore, a professional photographer, said she didn’t want to lose a moment.
Today, she has them organized by month and year. She stores them on her computer — a visual chronicle of RJ, from infancy to his untimely death.
At 11 weeks, the mother swore, she heard her baby say "mom" for the first time.
He was in his crib, getting fussy. She had been trying to entertain him with stuffed animals when the baby said, exasperated, "Mom!"
At 5 months, he had learned the word "dad" and grew his first tooth.
He was learning shapes and colors, could act out the hand motions to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Twinkle Twinkle" at bedtime.
By 18 months, the toddler was walking and talking. One day, the mother said, he decided he wanted to use the toilet.
"He just came up to me and said, ‘Mom? Potty!’ " Sequoia Moore said. "I swear he was a little genius."
As he grew, RJ enjoyed running and jumping, playing basketball with his dad at the courts in their Taylorsville apartment complex and dancing around the living room buck naked.
He was an affectionate boy, who loved to snuggle and give kisses. He had caramel skin, brown eyes and a big smile. On each shoulder, a dimple dotted his skin.
"Now I know why," the mother said. "They were marked so God could put his angel wings back on."
The crash • Shannon Moore, 49, told a judge Friday that Aug. 5, 2012, was not the first time he had taken his son out on the motorcycle.
At his November trial, Moore told a jury that he had driven all of his four children around on his motorcycle when they were young — seated between his legs at the front of the bike, Moore would place one hand on the handlebars, one arm wrapped around the child.
"We rode that motorcycle together almost every day," said Shannon Moore, who testified in his own defense. "I loved my son."
Sequoia Moore remembers that morning with a grimace. She was getting ready when her husband said she was taking RJ for a ride. She asked him not to, told Shannon Moore to walk instead.
"We had [ridden on the motorcycle] once before as a family — but I was holding RJ and we were going really slow," Sequoia Moore said. "Still. I didn’t like it. My gut told me it wasn’t safe. Even if they were going slow, a car could have backed out at any moment and hit them. What they were doing that day was way too fast, way too dangerous."
Minutes later, her cell phone rang. A neighbor had seen the crash. She needed to get down there right away, the neighbor said.
"I ran over barefoot, I didn’t even think to put shoes on. When I got there, I asked the officer, ‘Where’s my family?’ " Sequoia Moore said. "But I looked at all the lights and the police cars and I just knew. "Next Page >
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