Man convicted in 52-year-old murder arrested in Michigan

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 18, 2020




ST. CLAIR SHORES — A man caught in St. Clair Shores allegedly stealing hydrocodone pills from a local CVS Pharmacy in January has been discovered to be wanted for escaping a prison sentence for first-degree murder stemming from his actions during the Pittsburgh Riots of 1968.

Representatives from CVS Pharmacy, 22515 Greater Mack Ave., contacted St. Clair Shores Police Jan. 30 to report 80 hydrocodone pills missing from their inventory. According to a press release from St. Clair Shores Police, the store’s internal investigation led to surveillance video of Paul Dickson, a traveling pharmacist who worked at different CVS stores, allegedly placing the pills in his pocket as he was closing and leaving the store. Dickson allegedly admitted taking the pills, although he said it was an accident and he threw them out the window on his drive home.

CVS Pharmacy turned the matter over to St. Clair Shores Police, and the results of that investigation were turned over to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. Dickson was arraigned June 16 in front of 40th District Court Judge Mark Fratarcangeli on charges of embezzlement less than $200 and unlawful dispensing of controlled substances-prescriptions. He was given a $10,000 personal bond.

Dickson came to the St. Clair Shores Police Department Oct. 28 to have his fingerprints and mug shot taken; he was cooperative and released shortly thereafter. But two days later, police were notified by the FBI that Dickson’s fingerprints were in a nationwide database because he had a federal warrant out for his arrest for unlawful flight to avoid confinement from July 12, 1971. Dickson was discovered to actually be 68-year-old Leonard Rayne Moses, who was supposed to be serving a life sentence for first-degree murder.

According to the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office, on April 6, 1968, Moses and some friends threw Molotov cocktails at a house in Homewood, Pennsylvania, during the Pittsburgh Riots that occurred following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A woman inside the home was burned in the attack and died as a result of those burns and subsequent pneumonia.

Once the connection was made, Moses was arrested by Detroit FBI agents Nov. 12 outside his home in Grand Blanc. He is currently being held in the Genesee County Jail pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

Moses’ attorney, Frank Manley of Flint, did not return a call for comment by press time Nov. 17.

After being convicted and sentenced for first-degree murder, Moses was given permission to attend the funeral of a close relative in Pennsylvania on June 1, 1971. During the funeral, Moses escaped custody and had not been seen since.

According to the Pittsburgh FBI, at some point since then, Moses assumed the identity of Dickson. He had been employed as a traveling pharmacist in Michigan since at least 1999, but when Dickson’s fingerprints were entered into a nationwide database, the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system linked them to Moses’ fingerprints taken after his arrest in 1968.

“I hope this arrest brings some closure to the family members of Mary Amplo, who was killed back in 1968,” said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman in a press release. “Mr. Moses will now have to face justice for her murder.

“Through coordination with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office (in Pennsylvania) and our partners in Michigan, we were able to identify Mr. Moses using the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system. It’s these new advances in technology that the FBI must continue to identify and use to make sure those who commit crimes are brought to justice.”