VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Henrico man was sentenced Monday for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, who was shot over 20 times in Virginia Beach.
44-year-old Courtney Ian Moreno was sentenced for First Degree Murder, Use of a Firearm, and Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon. The judge sentenced Moreno to 48 years in prison with nine years suspended, leaving 39 years to serve.
Moreno pled guilty on August 23, 2021.
According to court officials, they say if this case went to trial evidence would prove that on May 23, 2019, Moreno drove to Virginia Beach to murder his ex-girlfriend, Estella Sophia Hoggard.
Hoggard reportedly complained to her current boyfriend that Moreno was calling and texting her because he wanted his Kaplan University diploma back from her.
Shortly after 10:30 p.m., officials say Hoggard left her apartment with the diploma but never returned.
Around midnight, a Virginia Beach police officer on patrol noticed a car with headlights on in an empty parking lot at an office building off S. Lynnhaven Road.
The officer found Hoggard’s car still running with her body in the driver’s seat. Police say she was covered in blood and was shot over 20 times. Her driver’s window was shot out and there were bullet holes on the interior of both doors.
Her death was originally being investigated as suspicious.
According to court officials, a witness said they heard over 15 shots around 11 p.m. Video surveillance showed Moreno enter the parking lot around 10:40 p.m.
Hoggard arrived 20 minutes later at the parking lot. Video shows Moreno getting out of the vehicle and approaching Hoggard’s vehicle for two minutes before returning to his and driving away.
Twelve shell casings were found several hundred feet from where Hoggard’s vehicle was found. Others were found in her car and right outside of it.
Cell phone records showed Moreno left Henrico County, drove to the scene of the murder, then returned to the Richmond area.
He was arrested on May 24. When he was arrested police said they found the degree, Hoggard's watch and GPS.
According to police, when searching his cell phone, it showed that in the hours after the murder, Moreno searched the Internet for pornography, reports of bodies found in Virginia Beach, and how to remove gunshot residue.
When interviewed by police, Moreno admitted that he shot his ex-girlfriend 16 or 17 times as she sat in her car, firing until the clip was empty.
He then said he got out of his vehicle and shot at her until he emptied a second clip.
In a recorded phone call Moreno made from jail, he told a woman that he was angry because Hoggard had not given him all his stuff and that he “was just doing what I had to do.” He stated that he fired 36 shots and that “some people ask for the shit that get done to them.”
Moreno has a prior conviction for Grand Larceny, Assault and Battery of a Family Member, Tampering, Petit Larceny, misdemeanor Eluding Police, Driving on Suspended Operator’s License (2 counts) and two Probation Violations.