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Minutes after Eddie Mosley was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder Thursday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he never wanted to see him get out of prison. He won’t.

The verdict, handed down by Judge Todd Barnette in a nonjury trial, requires a mandatory life sentence without parole. While not citing any specific reasons for his decision, the judge said the state had proved Mosley’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a triple killing last year in Brooklyn Park. Barnette has seven days to file his findings of fact.

Mosley, 35, was charged with first-degree murder in the April 9, 2012, shooting deaths of DeLois Brown, 59, a home day-care provider, and her parents, James Bolden Sr., 83, and Clover Bolden, 81, at Brown’s house. The three were killed execution-style, prosecutors said.

Before the verdict was read in the packed courtroom, several relatives of the victims leaned forward in their seats. Once Mosley was taken away by deputies, James Bolden Jr. and his son gave each other huge hugs and tears started to flow.

“I do feel some relief, finally knowing what the verdict is,” Bolden said Thursday evening. “I feel like that part of the episode is now closed even though I know there will be an automatic appeal.”

“This still hurts deep,” he said shortly after, “This is my family; they raised me.”

Barnette will sentence Mosley Friday afternoon after hearing victim impact statements.

Theron Fraser, who attended much of the 14-day trial, met Bolden Jr. and his wife at their church in the last year and attended several funeral and memorial services.

“I’m relieved he was found guilty of all counts,” Fraser said. “It was hard to listen to all the facts during the trial. The family just wanted to see justice done.”

Freeman said prosecutors Marlene Senechal, who is in charge of the adult prosecution division, and assistant county attorney Darren Borg were two of his most senior attorneys. He praised the work of law enforcement, noting that at one point more than 50 officers were working on the investigation.

The trial included dozens of prosecution witnesses and more than 450 exhibits admitted for evidence. The defense called only one witness. Mosley did not testify.

The arguments

Prosecutors had argued that Mosley drove from his home in St. Louis to Brooklyn Park with the intention of killing a young relative whom he was accused of sexually assaulting in Minnesota and who he thought would be at Brown’s home, they said. He intended to kill Brown because she would be a witness, the prosecution said.

Mosley had received notice in early April 2012 that he had been charged in Wright County with the sex offense. Prosecutors said that days later, he drove to Minnesota with a friend, Michael Thompson.

At trial, Thompson said he was never told why Mosley wanted to go to Brooklyn Park. Thompson said that about a half-mile from Brown’s house around 6 a.m., Mosley parked his sport utility vehicle, took out a bicycle, changed clothes and sent Thompson to a convenience store to buy cigarettes and coffee.

Thompson said that when Mosley returned to the vehicle, he had blood on his face. On the return trip to St. Louis, he said Mosley burned his clothes, ditched the bicycle and threw the gun in a creek.

Defense attorney Travis Keil repeatedly discussed a lack of physical evidence against Mosley, noting that neither the gun nor the bicycle was found and that police didn’t find Mosley’s DNA at the crime scene or the victims’ DNA in his vehicle.

The witness called by the defense, Mosley’s brother, testified that Mosley was in St. Louis the evening of April 8 celebrating Easter with relatives.

Keil also said Mosley had no motive to kill Brown and the Boldens. Mosley is the son of Brown’s former husband, and Keil said he was treated warmly by her family. Keil noted, too, that Mosley had recently helped the three people.

Another prosecution witness was a woman who had dropped off her child at the day care shortly before the killings.

She saw a man on a bicycle, she told police, and she called DeLois Brown, a call that ended abruptly amid commotion. She returned to the house and found the victims dead.

During the trial, she identified Mosley from the stand as the man she had seen on the bicycle. Keil vigorously fought the identification, protesting in part that the defense wasn’t told in advance that she would identify the defendant and that investigators had never shown her a photo lineup.

After Thursday’s verdict, Keil said Mosley should have been acquitted because of a lack of physical evidence and what he said was contradictory testimony from the prosecution’s two key witnesses.

Post-verdict encounter

As he was walking away from the courtroom, Keil spotted James Bolden Jr., approached him and said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Keil extended his hand. Bolden Jr. paused for a few seconds, then shook it.

“I understand, man,” he said. “Thank you very much.”

Staff writer Paul Levy contributed to this report.

David Chanen • 612-673-4465