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Clay’s classmate testifies in kidnapping trial

BRADENTON — Instead of a morning at school, Manatee School of the Arts ninth grader Taylor Lesione today made his way to the witness stand to recount seeing his classmate Clay Moore abducted at gunpoint from their bus stop.

Lesione testified that he saw Vincente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno pull up to their Kingfield Estates bus stop and demand 13-year-old Clay get in his truck on Feb. 23, 2007.

Clay refused until Beltran-Moreno pointed a gun in his direction, Lesions testified.

“He kept saying, ‘No, no. What did I do?’ Until he pulled out a gun, then Clay got in the truck,” Lesione said.

Beltran-Moreno, 24, showed no emotion as Lesione pointed to him in the courtroom, where Beltran-Moreno is on trial on a charge of armed kidnapping. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten also called the first Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy to locate Clay after authorities say Beltran-Moreno bound him to a tree with duct tape in the woods in rural East Manatee, before fleeing to Mexico.

Sheriff’s Sgt. William Riley said Clay was “calm, but dirty, wearing no socks or shoes.” Riley said he also had scratches.

“I offered him food and water. He was extremely thirsty,” said Riley. “I believe he drank a bottle of water and a soft drink.”