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Police ask help catching gambler's killer

A bullet through his front door killed Mark Moffett. Police have no eyewitnesses.

By LEANORA MINAI

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Detectives don't have much to go on to solve the killing of Mark Moffett.

That's why they released a photograph of the 6-foot-3, 575-pound gambler in a public appeal for help.

"At this point, we have no leads. No information," Detective Ron Noodwang said Wednesday.

Moffett, 48, was found dead April 19 inside his home in the gated Waterford Apartments complex, at 10263 Gandy Blvd. A friend of Moffett's became worried after he hadn't been seen in a few days.

When the friend and a maintenance worker went to check on him, they discovered a bullet hole in the hollow metal door of No. 2209.

The door to the apartment was locked, and Moffett was lying dead behind it. He had been shot through the door.

April 17 -- a Monday -- was the last night Moffett was seen alive by friends at Derby Lane racetrack, where he gambled on greyhounds, Noodwang said.

Moffett won a little money that night, and detectives are investigating whether he was followed home around 11 p.m. Police found money on him.

Three weeks before the murder, another St. Petersburg man who won at the racetrack was followed home, pushed down and robbed. He was not injured.

The day Moffett was killed, residents told police they heard a firecracker sound -- possibly a gunshot -- just before midnight. "We don't even know if there was a confrontation out there," Noodwang said.

Moffett, disabled and unemployed, drove a two-door, white Buick Riviera.

"Everybody's opinion of this guy that we talked to said he was pretty decent guy," Noodwang said. "So hopefully someone will pay him back a favor and give us some information."

Anyone with information is asked to call Noodwang at (727) 892-5545.

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