The murder plan was depraved and evil, deliberate and coldblooded, a prosecutor said.
In a hushed Hennepin County courtroom Thursday, Marlene Senechal graphically characterized three execution-style murders that she said Eddie Mosley committed in less than 10 minutes at a home day care in Brooklyn Park last year. Throughout her 90-minute closing argument, Mosley rarely turned his gaze from her.
The 14-day trial included dozens of prosecution witnesses and more than 450 exhibits admitted for evidence. Defense attorney Travis Keil called only one witness. Mosley did not testify.
Mosley took the unconventional step of requesting a nonjury trial in front of Judge Todd Barnette, who said he will issue his verdict next Thursday.
In his passionate closing, Keil told the judge that Mosley’s life was on the line.
“The prosecution wants to convict on quantity, not quality of evidence,” Keil said. “It just doesn’t add up.”
Mosley, 35, is 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.
Senechal, who is in charge of the adult prosecution division, and assistant county attorney Darren Borg 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 Brown, because she would be a witness. Mosley 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 Michael Thompson, a friend who became a key prosecution witness.
Before the trip, Mosley called the relative’s mother 27 times and sent 18 texts over a couple of days, begging her to drop the charges, prosecutors said. The woman testified that she told him to get an attorney.
At trial, Thompson said he believed Mosley was going to buy drugs and that 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.
When Mosley returned to the vehicle, Thompson said 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. Police didn’t find the bicycle or gun.
In his closing statement Thursday, Keil said that Mosley “didn’t own a registered gun, there were no reports he had stolen a gun and no evidence he borrowed a gun. Because there was no gun.”
Keil repeatedly discussed the lack of physical evidence against Mosley and his lack of a motive to kill Brown and the Boldens. Mosley is the son of Brown’s former husband, and Keil said he was treated very warmly by her family.
Keil questioned why Mosley would kill them at the home day care, where many people potentially would be showing up. And why would he choose to burn his clothes in a dumpster behind a busy gas station, Keil asked.
He also noted police didn’t find Mosley’s DNA at the crime scene or the victims’ DNA in his vehicle, and witnesses gave different descriptions of the clothes he was wearing. He said he doubted Mosley would have brought Thompson along on the trip to Minnesota if he knew he would later talk to police.
Keil’s only witness was James Perry, who is Mosley’s brother. He testified that Mosley was in St. Louis the evening of April 8 celebrating Easter with his relatives. Prosecutors said he changed his story three times when he talked to detectives.
Perhaps the most surprising moment in the trial came when the woman who found Brown and the Boldens dead was testifying. From the stand, she identified Mosley as the man she had seen near the house on a bicycle the morning of the killings.
Keil tried to get the in-court identification suppressed, 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. The judge denied the motion, noting that the prosecution hadn’t elicited the woman’s identification of Mosley when she testified. She had told a victim advocate during a break in her testimony that she could identify him.
“Why didn’t the police ever show her a photo lineup?” Keil asked Thursday. “She had told detectives she would do anything to catch him.”
He also said she had given police a vague description of the man she had seen.
Keil wrapped up his closing statement by saying the prosecution wanted somebody to pay for what he described as a horrendous crime.
“Justice isn’t done by convicting somebody who is innocent,” he said.