Feds: Grand jury indicts man in car when 5-year-old fatally shot in back seat

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Family and friends hold a balloon release at the corner of East Philadelphia Street and North Pine Street for Elias Dowlatram, the five-year-old boy who died from an accidental shooting, Tuesday, August 20.
Wednesday, August 21, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The babysitter of a 5-year-old York City boy killed in a gun accident has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

The grand jury indicted Adrian Moye, 27, of the 800 block of Wallace Street, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, on the charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, according to federal court records.

As a convicted felon, Moye is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, his indictment states.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab has ordered that Moye be brought to Harrisburg's federal court on Tuesday, Oct. 8, to be arraigned on the charges, court records state.

York City Police have said Moye was the boyfriend of the mother of 5-year-old Elias Dowlatram.

Elias, of York City, died Aug. 20 of a gunshot wound to the head, according to York County Coroner Pam Gay.

The manner of Elias' death has not yet been determined, Gay said on Friday, Oct. 4.

York City Police Officer Derek Hartman, the department's spokesman, confirmed the investigation is ongoing, and that it remains undetermined whether Elias accidentally shot himself, or whether someone else was holding the gun when it accidentally discharged.

Elias and a 7-year-old boy were in the back seat of an SUV driven by Moye about 2 p.m. Aug. 20 when Elias was shot, police have said.

According to charging documents, Moye told Elias' mother that the boys had the gun when Elias was shot.

Adrian Moye

Career offender? Moye is charged in York County with the felony offenses of child endangerment, being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm and cocaine possession with intent to distribute.

He remains in York County Prison without bail; his preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 18.

Moye has a half-dozen felony convictions in York County, including four guilty pleas to drug dealing and one guilty plea to conspiracy to deal drugs. His criminal record means he could be deemed a career offender in federal court.

Federal sentences can often be far harsher than state sentences for the same crime, York City Police and federal officials have told The York Dispatch.

For instance, career offenders caught dealing drugs face a guideline sentence of 17½ to nearly 22 years in federal prison — no matter how small the amount of drugs, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney William Houser.

And committing a crime with a gun carries, for career offenders, 30 years to life, he has said.

Such offenders can be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for merely possessing one bullet, according to Houser, and there is no parole in the federal prison system.

The background: Moye is charged in York County with the felonies of child endangerment, being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm and cocaine possession with intent to distribute.

At the time, he was the boyfriend of Elias' mother and was watching Elias and the 7-year-old boy when Elias was killed, apparently in the back seat of a car Moye was driving, police have said.

Police seized a loaded 9 mm handgun outside Elias' home and are trying to determine if it was hidden there by Moye, who initially carried the "lifeless" body of Elias to the front porch of the boy's home in the 200 block of East Philadelphia Street before carrying him back to a vehicle and driving away, according to charging documents.

Police said they also seized cocaine from inside the home, which was found along with documents belonging to Moye.

Moye's Montgomery County-based attorney, Michael Walker, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Friday.

Elias Dowlatram

About Elias: Elias was an energetic child who loved Spider-Man and wanted to grow up to be a police officer "so he could get all the bad guys," his loved ones have said on Facebook.

Family described him as a tough cookie who had started to play football for the York Bears but who also liked to "dress to impress."

He would have been a kindergartner in the Central York School District, they said, having graduated from pre-K.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.