The 1991 murder of Tanya (Mae West) Moore in Detroit was most likely the result of a combustible gangland love triangle and rumors that she was a federal informant, according to those familiar with the never-solved homicide investigation. Moore’s family blamed notorious Motor City drug-game enforcer Charles (Chuckie Lights Out) Hardaway for Moore’s slaying and ten years ago this week took their vengeance – Hardaway, 48, was shot and killed April 10, 2007, 12 days following being released from a 17-year prison term for trafficking five kilos of cocaine.

In the 1980s, Hardaway served as personal muscle for his brother-in-law, Demetrius Holloway, the most prominent of Detroit’s crack-era drug dons. For a period of time, Hardaway was romantically linked to “Mae West” Moore, nicknamed after the early-Hollywood sex symbol, and a popular Motown street diva seen frequently on the arm of some of Southeastern Michigan’s most infamous underworld figures of the era. At the time she was slain, Hardaway was on his way to prison and she had begun dating Cliff Jones, another one of Holloway’s main henchmen, in the year leading up to her murder.

“Chuckie was mad about the breakup and blamed Mae West for his bust,” one source said. “Dude was coldblooded. He wasn’t one to think things through like Demetrius, he took action first and asked questions later.”

The triggerman in the Hardaway hit, Robert Clark, was allegedly hired by Moore’s step-brother Martin Pitts and brother Maurice Moore. Pitts, the getaway driver in the murder which took place at the Sundance Shoe Outlet in suburban Ferndale, Michigan, became a government informant and testified against Clark at his trial. Maurice Moore was never charged, but sources say he was affiliated with the drug trade on the eastside of Detroit in the decadent and wild Eighties.

When the Holloway organization went to war with the Best Friends Gang and then with rival eastside cocaine king Edward (Big Ed) Hanserd, Holloway leaned heavily on both Hardaway and Jones and Jones’ “Monster Squad” for his heavy artillery. Jones and Hardaway were each suspects in several homicides apiece. Authorities attribute at least 50 gangland murders to the Monster Squad and upwards of 100 to the loose-cannon Best Friends Gang, formerly a subunit within Holloway’s criminal empire tasked specifically with strong-arm duties.

“Mae West” was Cliff Jones’ top female drug courier according to sources. She was gunned down in front of her women’s clothing store on 8 Mile Road, shot more than ten times by automatic weapon fire. Holloway himself was executed months earlier at the checkout counter of a The Broadway, a bustling downtown Detroit’s men’s clothier, on October 8, 1990.

After Holloway’s murder, rumors began circulating that “Mae West” was a confidential informant for the DEA. Per court records, Jones grabbed control of Holloway’s drug territory, until he was indicted and incarcerated in the winter of 1993. Jones was released in 2013, but quickly got caught back up in a drug trafficking conspiracy centered in California where he was directing shipments from Mississippi up to Detroit and is behind bars again. Big Ed Hanserd got out of prison last year and has relocated to the west coast.

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