Stuart Moss, 29, of Syracuse, had been working on his friend's summer camp at Pillar Point. Moss and his friend, Vincent Pietrowski, 66, also of Syracuse, worked together at the Onondaga County Water Department in Syracuse.

While working on the summer home on the evening of September 12, 1987, Moss killed his friend, by shooting him twice with a shotgun. Moss would later tell police and a psychiatrist that Pietrowski was making “homosexual advances” on him and that he had to kill him to escape. It is believed that Moss suffered a psychotic break which led to this delusion.

Moss then took Pietrowski's car and drove to a nearby intersection, where he parked the car and began firing at passing cars, seemingly at random. Dexter Police Chief Samuel A. Johnson, Sr. entered the intersection around 6 PM after responding to reports of gunfire, and Moss fired from the car with three shotgun blasts, killing Johnson. He never even had a chance, Dexter Police Chief Robert Thomas said.

Two other sheriff deputies arrived after no one could raise Johnson on the police radio, just as Moss was driving away. They pursued him, and were joined by a State Trooper and an off-duty State Police Investigator. The pursuit reached over a hundred miles an hour and over the course of the pursuit Moss' car sustained damage. After a fourteen mile chase the police were able to box in Moss' vehicle on Route 180 near Perch River Village.

Moss got out of the car and fired some more shots, and was hit by the officers four times with shots to the head, right shoulder, right leg, and groin. Some reports say Moss still had to be pinned by a vehicle to restrain him.

After his arrest, Moss was evaluated by psychiatrists. He scored a full scale IQ of 68, making him mildly mentally retarded. He also was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Moss's family later said that his mental condition had been deteriorating since 1981; the year they said he began to believe the Hells Angels motorcycle gang was after him.

A jury was selected in May of 1988. However, shortly into the trial, a competency hearing was held and Moss was declared an “incapacitated person” who was not able to assist in his own defense and a mistrial was granted by County Court Judge Lee Clary. Moss was confined to a psychiatric center. A hearing was held in April 1989 and Moss was again found incompetent to stand trial. However, in September 1989, psychiatrists told the court that Moss had begun to respond to a new course of anti-psychotic drugs and could participate in his own defense.

Therefore, in December 1989 a jury was selected and a trial was held. During the trial, family members said Moss called himself “the Chosen One” or the Antichrist, other witnesses testified that he was not competent and that he had made threats toward them. However, the jury found Moss guilty by reasons of extreme emotional disturbance and Moss was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

On April 24, 1992, an appeals court overturned the conviction of Moss and dismissed all charges against him without prejudice. In 1993, his case was re-presented to a Jefferson County Grand Jury and he was, once again, indicted. However, by this point, Moss' condition had deteriorated quite badly and he was no longer responding to anti-psychotic medications, despite several new medications being on the market. Moss was once again declared an “incapacitated person” and confined to a mental institution.

Moss' case is still technically an open case. However, there is virtually no hope that Moss will ever become fit to stand trial. His case comes up for review approximately every 2 years and he continues to be ordered committed. It is expected that it will remain this way until Moss dies.




Police Chief Samuel Johnson was a part-time police chief for Dexter and assistant police chief of the then-combined three-man department for Brownville, Glen Park, and Dexter, and fifteen year veteran of the Dexter Police Department.


Notorious Jefferson County Crime



  • stuart_moss.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/12/06 17:17
  • (external edit)