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Former prosecutor in Blanche Taylor Moore trial dies after stepping into traffic

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FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The lead prosecutor in the controversial 1990 murder trial of Blanche Taylor Moore died Saturday when she stepped into traffic on Interstate 485 in Charlotte, authorities said.

Authorities have ruled Janet H. Downing’s death a suicide. Those who knew her are saying it was a tragic end for a troubled woman.

Downing, better known to Forsyth County folks as Janet Branch when she was a prosecutor here, died about 7:30 a.m. Oct. 10, after her car wrecked in the median of Interstate 485, the N.C. Highway Patrol said.

Trooper John Burgin said the night before the accident Downing had gone to a neighbor’s house in Charlotte and asked for a gun or razor blades, giving the neighbor information about how to get in touch with kin and telling him that “she had hit rock bottom.”

Read more: Winston-Salem Journal