Atascadero man faces life in prison after 2015 attack on Cal Poly student

Derrick Robert Moore, 27, in a San Luis Obispo County Jail booking photo after his arrest in September 2015.
Derrick Robert Moore, 27, in a San Luis Obispo County Jail booking photo after his arrest in September 2015. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

An Atascadero man could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading no contest Friday to charges related to his 2015 attack of a 20-year-old female Cal Poly student.

The woman was able to fend off Derrick Robert Moore with a keychain knife after he ambushed her outside of her apartment near the university campus in September 2015, according to previous court testimony.

“The young woman in this case is truly a hero and a survivor,” San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said Friday following the plea.

Moore, 27, pleaded no contest in San Luis Obispo Superior Court to assault with intent to commit rape, first-degree residential burglary resulting in great bodily injury, and committing a serious felony with prior felony convictions.

Charges of attempted murder, stalking and assault with a stun gun were dismissed in exchange for his plea, court records show.

Moore faces 38 years to life in prison under California’s three strikes law, Dow said. Court records show Moore has two prior convictions from 2009 for burglary and attempted burglary.

Moore’s attorney, Ronald Crawford, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Dow called the agreement offered by Deputy District Attorney Fabiana Fede an “excellent” plea that offers justice to the victim and allows her to avoid again reliving the attack on the witness stand.

At a March 2016 preliminary hearing, the victim testified that Moore confronted her as she left her apartment in the 1000 block of Foothill Boulevard, assaulting her with a stun gun and forcing her to the ground inside her apartment, where he repeatedly punched and strangled her.

While the woman’s roommate called 911, the victim used the small knife to stab at Moore’s right side, causing him to flee.

“Had she not done that, the court would be hearing a murder case,” Fede said at the 2016 hearing.

Moore was found hiding in a creek area behind Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center with several stab wounds to his upper right side and shoulder. Officers testified that his car was found idling in the apartment parking lot with the trunk slightly open and a five-inch knife in the center console.

During the same hearing, Moore’s previous attorney argued that Moore was not trying to kill the woman, but rather to rob her, and that the stun gun he used wasn’t functioning.

Moore remains in custody at San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he has been held in lieu of $500,000 bail since his arrest. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

The victim in the case will graduate from Cal Poly this year, Dow said.