Larry Moore Facing Parole

Larry Moore is seen in court in this undated file photo.

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Larry Moore, one of Gallatin County’s most notorious murderers in recent memory, has been granted parole.

Moore, 73, was paroled Thursday, state corrections officials confirmed, after serving 28 years of a 60-year sentence for the murder of Brad Brisbin, a county sheriff’s deputy whose body Moore hid in a West Yellowstone gravel pit until years after his conviction in 1992.

Although the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole voted unanimously to grant Moore’s request during a virtual hearing, an exact date for his release hasn’t been scheduled, Annette Carter, the parole board chair, said Monday.

Moore must first submit a plan for his release, including where he will live and work, Carter said. Corrections officials will then consider that plan before setting a date for Moore’s release. Carter said that typically takes 30 to 45 days.

If he is released, Moore indicated at last week’s hearing that he planned to live in Kalispell and seek a part-time job.

The parole board had previously denied Moore’s request for an early release on seven instances, the first time in 2000. At each hearing, members of Brisbin’s family opposed Moore’s release, and several of those family members testified again last week, Carter said.

A spokesperson for the Brisbin family released a statement to the Chronicle Monday: “The Brisbin family does not agree with the decision made by the board as we do not believe that Larry is rehabilitated. He has never once expressed remorse for his actions unless it directly benefited him.”

Originally sentenced to 60 years, Moore was convicted when state law held that inmates be credited with time off for good behavior. Essentially, those rules meant that Moore would have been released without the parole board’s blessing in January of 2023, and Carter said that was critical to the board’s decision last week.

Once he is released, Moore will remain under the supervision of corrections officials until 2023, Carter said, and that time will be beneficial in his transition away from prison. If he remained incarcerated for the rest of his sentence, Moore would have then been freed without restrictions. Members of a panel of parole board members voted 3-0 to grant Moore’s release.

“It’s important that inmates have some period of supervision once they are released, especially for those who have been in for so long,” said Carter, who did not sit on the panel that considered Moore’s request.

Moore was a bold liar and a formidable scoundrel, concocting a wild tale of Brisbin’s disappearance while maintaining his innocence until surrendering the location of his victim’s secreted remains better served his purpose.

Brisbin, 38, disappeared Nov. 9, 1990, after meeting with Moore at a truck stop in Belgrade. Moore, a West Yellowstone businessman, initially told investigators that Brisbin was “fed up” and wanted to start a new life. He said he last saw Brisbin leaving the truck stop with a woman driving a red sports car.

Moore subsequently changed that story, claiming he found a despondent Brisbin in his trailer and that his friend was injured when the two struggled over a handgun. When he went to get water, Moore maintained, Brisbin disappeared.

Moore was charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence when investigators found a bloodied bullet and human tissue in his camper. Although DNA evidence — used for the first time in a Montana case — showed the blood and tissue came from Brisbin, Moore testified that the blood was from a deer he’d shot. Prosecutors also presented evidence that Moore scrubbed the inside of his camper with battery acid and, while out on bail, drove long distances to mail letters purporting Brisbin’s good health.

A Gallatin County jury deliberated 14 hours over two days before returning its decision, the first time in state history that prosecutors obtained a guilty verdict in a murder case when the victim’s body couldn’t be found. Still, Moore maintained his innocence.

In 1995, Moore — while in the Montana State Prison — was charged with conspiring to bomb the warden’s office. Only then, while facing federal rather than state charges, did he admit to killing Brisbin, drawing a map to where he’d used a backhoe to bury the remains in a gravel pit near Hebgen Lake. He also led investigators to a campground along the Gallatin River where he’d buried the handgun used in the killing. In exchange for his confession, the bomb-related charges were dismissed, and prosecutors agreed not to object to his parole from prison.

Soon after that admission, Moore was moved from the state prison in Deer Lodge to the Oregon State Penitentiary, where he has remained for the last 25 years.

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Nick Ehli is the Chronicle’s editor. He can be reached at nehli@dailychronicle.com.

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