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PITTSBURGH – A Pittsburgh man convicted of killing a woman during the unrest following Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 assassination, but who escaped during his grandmother’s funeral three years later, was recaptured Thursday in Michigan.

Leonard Rayne Moses, 68, was arrested without incident in Grand Blanc by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force. He had been on the run for 49 years.

Under the assumed name of Paul Dickson, Moses had been working as a traveling pharmacist since at least 1999, FBI officials said. Michigan state records show a pharmacist license issued for a man by that name in Genesee County in 1997.

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

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Christman and Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen said during a news conference that Moses’ identity was ultimately uncovered following a January arrest in Saint Clair Shores, where he was arrested under the Dickson name and charged with embezzlement.

His fingerprints were taken upon booking and, in October, authorities uploaded them into a nationwide database. According to FBI officials, they were run through the agency’s Next Generation Identification System, which matched the prints to those taken after Moses’ 1968 arrest.

“We asked for an examiner to look at them manually as well, and again, the examiner, like the computer, confirmed that there was a match for the prints,” Christman said.

Agents and deputies began working with the task force out of the FBI’s Detroit field office to take Moses into custody.

Moses was 15 years old on April 6, 1968, when he participated in the unrest following King’s killing in Memphis two days earlier. During what authorities dubbed the “Pittsburgh riots,” Moses and some friends threw Molotov cocktails into a home in Homewood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in the city.

Amplo, who was inside, was burned. She died a few months later as a result of her injuries and subsequent pneumonia, FBI officials said.

Moses was convicted of first-degree murder in July 1969 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The convicted killer was allowed to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Homewood on June 1, 1971. He escaped from the deputies who had accompanied him to the funeral.

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Christman praised the technology that allowed authorities to catch up with Moses after nearly a half-century.

“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,” Christman said in a statement.

The status of Moses’ life sentence remains to be seen. According to the FBI, his appellate attorney argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that Moses had been too young to waive his Miranda warnings.

“His attorney argued his confession to law enforcement should be suppressed because he did not have a parent, guardian, or an attorney present when he provided his statement to law enforcement,” the FBI said in 2016. “At the end of the court session, two justices provided dissenting opinions concluding the case should be remanded for a new trial.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 banned the death penalty for anyone under the age of 18. The justices also determined that life sentences without parole for juveniles constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

In January 2016, the court resolved that the 2012 decision applied retroactively.

Leonard Rayne Moses

Leonard Rayne Moses, pictured in booking photos from the 1960s, was captured Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Grand Blanc, Mich., by the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force. Moses, now 68, had been on the run for 49 years following his conviction as a teen for first-degree murder.