A man jailed in connection with a West Ashley home invasion has emerged as a potential suspect in the killing of 5-year-old Allison Griffor, who was struck by a shotgun blast inside her family’s Pierpont Avenue home in October 2011, authorities revealed today.
That man is Philip Moses, 24, of Charleston, who is currently jailed in connection with a home invasion that took place on Dogwood Road on Oct. 22, 2011 — three days before Griffor was killed. That crime also involved a shotgun, authorities said.
Today, Ninth Circuit Chief Deputy Solicitor Bruce Durant named Moses as a potential suspect in Griffor’s murder during a plea hearing for a codefendant in the other home invasion case, Devoun D. Bennett.
Bennett, 19, of Charleston, pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary and armed robbery in a downtown courtroom for his role in the Dogwood Avenue break-in.
Investigators said Bennett, Moses and two other men forced their way inside the Dogwood Road apartment. The men were armed and one of them had a shotgun, Durant said. The victim didn’t report the crime at first out of fear for his own safety, Durant said. But when the victim learned of the death of Griffor, just days later and blocks away, he called police because he recognized similarities between the two crimes, according to prosecutors.
Bennett would not cooperate with prosecutors to provide any information about Moses.
“We believe Mr. Moses was involved in the Griffor case,” Durant said this morning in a downtown Charleston circuit courtroom.
Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon would not answer questions about Moses today. Sheriff’s office spokesman Mike Stanley said the case is still an active investigation.
“We have nothing to add,” Stanley said. “Even though it was said in open court, it doesn’t change anything we’re doing at this point. We’re still following up on all leads.”
Prosecutors said they don’t believe Bennett was involved in Griffor’s death but they hoped he would help provide more insight about Moses. No one has been charged in her killing.
In court, Bennett’s defense attorney, Leslie Sarji, said prosecutors offered a possible deal to Bennett, called a proffer in exchange for information on Moses, but Bennett was scared and didn’t talk. “He was fearful he will always be looking over his shoulder,” Sarji said in court.
Circuit Judge Roger Young sentenced Bennett to 20 years in prison with credit for the 547 days he has spent in jail.
Someone kicked in the front door of the Griffors’ home on Pierpont Avenue at about 1 a.m. on Oct. 25, 2011.
As Allison’s father, William, walked toward the door, shots were fired into the house. Several buckshot pellets went through the door and a wall into the room where Allison slept. She was hit in the head in the room she shared with her two brothers. Allison died two days later at Medical University Hospital.
Investigators have indicated the little girl was not an intended target and said they think those involved in the shooting mistakenly believed there were drugs at the home.
Cannon previously indicated his investigators believe they know who’s involved and that some of those people are behind bars for other crimes.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111 or the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office at (843) 743-7200.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
Allison Griffor, 5, was shot during a home invasion on Pierpont Ave. West Ashley. Provided photo×
Philip Moses, 23, of West Ashley, has been named as a potential suspect in the Oct. 25, 2011 killing of 5-year-old Allison Griffor during a home invasion attempt at her Pierpont Avenue home. (Provided)×