Author finds name isn’t all he shares with murderer
By Chris Ramirez
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Wes Moore was packing to attend Oxford University in 2000 when news spread in Baltimore about a man killed during a jewelry heist.
One of the suspects was another man named “Wes Moore.”
It turned out the two men shared more in common than just their names.
Moore, 33, an accomplished author and host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network, will explore the profundity of the choices we make during a talk Thursday at the Hill House community center. He will hand out copies of his book “Discovering Wes Moore,” which is a young-adult revision of his acclaimed 2010 memoir “The Other Wes Moore.” Both detail his relationship with another man who shared his name. The other Wes Moore is serving a life sentence for felony murder.
“Some of the biggest decisions we've made in our lives ... are small ones. They have short- and long-term consequences,” the author says. “Sometimes, the smallest factors really matter.”
On paper, each Wes Moore could have run the streets together. They grew up only blocks apart in the same Baltimore neighborhood, were roughly the same age — the other Wes is just two years older — and each came from single-family homes.
Their lives, however, followed decidedly different paths.
Wes Moore the writer graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College and Johns Hopkins University, went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and served as a paratrooper and captain in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
The other Wes Moore developed a taste for drugs and the thug life. That Wes Moore was one of four men convicted in the February 2000 killing of an off-duty police officer during a jewelry-store robbery and was sentenced to life in prison.
“We're convinced that ... given our proximity, where we grew up, there's no way we didn't meet,” says Moore the author. “Had it not been for people who help usher me into manhood, things could have been very different for me.”
Moore recalled having first heard about the other Wes Moore from his mother. She had seen a string of police “wanted” posters strewn around town looking for “Wes Moore.”
Moore reached out to the convicted killer through a letter to the prison and has visited him often over the last seven or eight years. He describes the criminal who shares his name as “a smart guy” who has made “some bad decisions in his life.”
“We should never forget to think about others in society,” he says. “There's a thin line between our lives and those of others.”
Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5682.
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