Man thought link in girl’s killing sentenced for other crime

Philip Moses, 23, of West Ashley, named as a potential suspect in the Oct. 25, 2011, killing of 5-year-old Allison Griffor, pleaded guilty Wednesday to his role in a separate home invasion robbery. (Provided)

Phillip Moses shuffled into a Charleston courtroom Wednesday morning wearing shackles. He was there to plead guilty for his role in a West Ashley home invasion that occurred on Oct. 22, 2011.

But it’s what happened on Oct. 25, 2011, that has homicide investigators interested in Moses. The 25-year-old Charleston man may be the only link they have to the shooting death of a 5-year-old West Ashley girl that happened three days after that Dogwood Road home invasion.

No new leads have surfaced in the slaying of Allison Griffor, according to Charleston County Sheriff’s officials. Prosecutors had previously pointed to Moses as potentially being involved in the girl’s death.

During the plea hearing of a co-defendant in the Dogwood Road home invasion in April, 9th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Bruce Durant said Moses is suspected in the case of the child’s death.

“We believe Mr. Moses was involved in the Griffor case,” Durant said in a Charleston circuit courtroom.

But since the implication was made, no new information has surfaced about Allison’s slaying or Moses’ potential involvement. No mention of it was made during the Wednesday hearing when Moses pleaded guilty to his involvement in the separate home invasion and robbery of the Dogwood Road apartment in West Ashley.

Moses is accused of being one of five masked men who forced their way into the Dogwood Road home. One of them had a shotgun, prosecutors said. The victim did not immediately report the crime because he was scared, according to prosecutors, but he decided to do so when he heard about Allison’s shooting death three days later.

Moses was sentenced to six years, part of a negotiated plea, in which the judge can only accept or deny the terms of the plea deal, not alter it.

Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald accepted the negotiated plea. Moses, who was originally charged with first-degree burglary and armed robbery, pleaded to the lesser charges of second-degree burglary, non-violent, and strong arm robbery.

Levell L. Grant, 24, of Fort Johnson Road, pleaded guilty with Moses in court to the same charges in the Dogwood Road robbery. Moses will receive credit for the nearly two years he already has served in jail and will be eligible for release after serving 85 percent of his sentence. Grant also will receive credit for the time he has served.

The front door of the Griffors’ home on Pierpont Avenue was kicked in 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 that Allison was not an intended target, and said they think those involved in the shooting mistakenly believed there were drugs at the home.

Sheriff Al Cannon previously indicated that his investigators believe they know who was involved and that some of those people are behind bars for other crimes.

Charleston County Sheriff’s officials would not discuss the case because it’s still a pending investigation, but Maj. Jim Brady said that “the Sheriff’s Office is still actively investigating the case and to identify those responsible for her death.”

Investigators ask anyone with information to contact the agency at 843-202-1700 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or