Co-Defendants Sentenced in Forest Service Officer Killing Case
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney, for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Timothy Grant, age 48, formerly of Locust Grove, Georgia, Michael Moscardelli, age 69, a resident of Monticello, Georgia, and Roberto Flores, age 35, a resident of McDonough, Georgia, were sentenced today before the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia. Grant and Flores had previously entered pleas of guilty to Misprision of a Felony (Failing to Report a Crime), in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 4. Moscardelli had previously entered a guilty plea to False Statements to a Law Enforcement Officer in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1001.
Grant was sentenced to three years probation, two 48 hour periods of jail time, a fine of $1,000.00, and a mandatory assessment fee of $100.00. Flores was sentenced to two years probation and a mandatory assessment fee of $100.00. Moscardelli was sentenced to two years probation, a $5,000.00 fine, and a mandatory assessment fee of $100.00.
Grant and Flores were present when, on March 5, 2010, co-defendant Norman Clinton Hale, who, on March 22, 2012, was previously sentenced to five years imprisonment, killed United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Christopher Upton, who was on duty at the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Trailhead in the Oconee National Forest, Jasper County, Georgia. Grant was the driver of Hale’s pickup truck, and Grant and Flores were present when Hale killed Officer Upton. Both were present when Hale attempted to cover up the shooting of Officer Upton. After learning that law enforcement officers had been contacted about the shooting, neither Grant or Flores ever contacted law enforcement officers about the shooting until their identities had been revealed by another co-defendant.
Moscardelli was contacted by Hale after the shooting and returned to the crime with Hale and co-defendant Clifford McGouirk, who is awaiting sentencing. After 911 had finally been called, Moscardelli agreed with Hale and McGouirk to mislead law enforcement officers about the existence of additional witnesses to the killing of Officer Upton. Moscardelli intentionally provided federal law enforcement officers false information about the individuals who were present at the scene when Hale killed Officer Upton.
The case was investigated by the United States Forest Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and supported by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Solis.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2602.