Plea agreement reached for one of two 2022 murder suspects

One of the two men accused in the 2022 murder of Matthew Moore has entered into a plea agreement prior to a trial set to begin next week. 

On February 26, Arlo Whitehead Romano, 44, agreed to enter a plea of guilty to murder of the second degree, a lesser charge than murder in the first degree for which he was indicted, according to court records. A kidnapping charge and two counts of conspiracy were dropped as part of the agreement. 

Romano now awaits sentencing which could be 10-to-40 years in a state correctional facility. 

The other man charged in Moore’s murder, Cleotis Cortez-Paul Eppes, Jr., 49, will move forward with a jury trial set to begin Tuesday March 5 before Monongalia County Circuit Court Judge Paul Gwaltney. 

As part of the plea agreement, Romano may be called as a witness and forced to testify against Eppes during next week’s trial. 

The victim, Moore, was found on May 7, 2022 lying in the roadway on Round Bottom Road off Smithtown Road just after 1:00 a.m.  

Detectives on the scene were able to determine the cause of death to be a gunshot wound and the manner was ruled a homicide by the WV Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Prior to his arrest, Romano led law-enforcement on a multi-day manhunt before he was taken into custody by authorities in Uniontown, Pa. 

According to the initial criminal complaint, the detectives’ investigation included extensive follow-ups, interviews, search warrants, digital evidence, and location and communication records associated with Romano, Eppes, and Moore, as well as surveillance footage obtained from multiple locations in and around Monongalia County and post-crime actions. 

TWEET @DominionPostWV