The most powerful component in the state's case was the string of witnesses that the prosecutor, Sheila Rappaport, brought to the stand to corroborate the plaintiff's story. The part-time cabbie who took her home from Moore's apartment, Ronald Tallman, is a Methodist minister and registered psychotherapist. "I heard her bang her fist on the seat of the cab and say, 'I can't believe he did that,' " Tallman said. "She'd been raped, I thought.... I offered her the phone to call the police. I offered to take her to the hospital. She said she didn't want to get him in trouble. He was a fairly prominent person. I didn't push her." When she got home Nield called her best friend, Lu Mancinelli, who described Nield as "babbling, incoherent, hysterical." At the doctor's office she visited on the morning of July 18, office manager D.J. Masamori said, Nield "could not sit down. She was uncomfortable. She was tearful, very tearful, the entire time."
While Rappaport appeared to have a winning case, Steve Munsinger, Moore's attorney, portrayed the older Nield, who is white, as a love-crazed gold-digger with a taste for kinky sex who had preyed on a young black man who was up against the system. The 12 jurors, nine women and three men, included 10 whites and two blacks. "Justice has not always been race neutral," Munsinger said. "You must give this black man accused of raping a white woman a fair trial."
Nor did Munsinger fail to make the point that Moore, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds' organization after his arrest, was now playing Double A ball in Chattanooga. He had fallen a mile from his days in Denver. Perhaps most crucially, Munsinger also played upon the bias that works against abused women who stay with their tormentors. Repeatedly he returned to an incident in Tucson in which Moore spit on Nield and belittled her with epithets like "white trash" and "whore." Munsinger pointed out that three days later Nield returned to Moore in Arizona wearing black spike heels and a black trench coat that was buttoned up to the neck and covered little more than black hose and a garter belt.
It all worked. The jury hung itself, voting to acquit on both the rape charge (11-1) and the assault charge (10-2). The lone "guilty" voter on the rape charge, Kenneth Womack, 40, a nurse at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, says the vote turned on Moore's status as a ballplayer. "Everybody said he was guilty," Womack said. "They didn't want to convict him. It was baseball that did it. They didn't want to push it with a baseball player, a celebrity. They thought being traded down to the minors was punishment enough." Unconvinced, the prosecutor has decided to retry the case; the new trial will begin on Oct. 31.
An undercurrent of hostility, particularly among the women jurors, ran against Nield. It was as if she had betrayed her gender. "The women were harder on her than the men," says a female juror who is having second thoughts about the verdict. "They portrayed her as a loose woman. They had no compassion for her."
In another classic reaction, the jurors were bewildered by the fact that Nield had returned to Moore after the Tucson episode. "The fact that she kept coming back for more was a big factor," says juror Michael Kleinschmidt, 30, a sales manager for Marriott. "Why was she so willing to put up with this man?"
It is the eternal, unanswerable heart of the matter. In 1992, when Mark Schrader was a deputy in the Palm Beach County, Fla., sheriff's office in West Palm Beach, he was summoned to the scene of a domestic violence incident involving a 28-year-old major league baseball player, Alphonse Dante Bichette, and his pregnant 19-year-old girlfriend, Marianna Peng, who is now his wife. Bichette was just a year away from making it big with the Colorado Rockies, but that is not why Schrader remembers him. It was, says Schrader, a curious encounter: "I'd never heard of the guy until I arrested him. His girlfriend said he grabbed ahold of her and threw her around. She was pretty upset. I had no idea who he was until she showed me his baseball card—she had a stack of them—and asked if I wanted his signature. It seemed kind of strange."
It was a pleasant arrest, as aggravated batteries go. "I remember him being a gentleman," Schrader says. "He basically said what she said was true, and we took a ride to the jail. I remember seeing some of the doors to their home had been kicked in. She told me this wasn't the first time this had happened. Like all the rest, she said she was going to leave him, but I guess she didn't."
Says DelTufo, "The question is always, 'Why doesn't she leave?' rather than 'Why doesn't he stop beating her?' "
Bichette's agent, Ron Shapiro, said, "This is not a domestic abuse situation...because there's no pattern here and no history except this one argument that occurred before they were married."