GRAPHIC WARNING: This article contains details that may disturb some readers.
A murder trial has heard how a woman was about to kiss her young daughter good night when a friend with a pair of scissors entered the girl’s room and attacked.
David Moss has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the May 2020 killing of seven-year-old Bella Rose Desrosiers. He is seeking a ruling that he is not criminally responsible, Crown lawyer Shivani Naidu-Barrett told the judge-alone trial Monday.
Bella’s mother, Melissa Desrosiers, tried to defend her daughter, but Moss pushed her away, Naidu-Barrett read from an agreed statement of facts. Moss, who had been seen hours earlier by police and a mental-health worker, was staying at the Desrosiers home.
“Approximately a year prior to the offence date, Mr. Moss and Ms. Desrosiers began a friendship after Ms. Desrosiers attended the tattoo shop that Mr. Moss owned with his wife,” said Naidu-Barrett as Moss, 36, stood in an orange jumpsuit in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
“Ms. Desrosiers’ husband committed suicide in their home. Mr. Moss had provided Ms. Desrosiers a memorial tattoo to commemorate her husband’s death, free of charge.”
Naidu-Barrett told the court that Bella’s mother and Moss grew up in small neighbouring Alberta towns. Although they knew of each other and had mutual friends, they were not friends at the time.
Naidu-Barrett told court that a year later, Desrosiers was at Moss’s home and became concerned he was suicidal. She invited him to come to her place.
That evening, Desrosiers picked up Bella and her younger sister from their aunt’s home and arrived at her southeast Edmonton house with Moss.
While Moss took a shower and a nap in the guest bedroom, Desrosiers took her daughters to their bedroom to put them to sleep. Their aunt was to babysit them while they slept, so Desrosiers could take Moss to the hospital.
Court heard that Desrosiers was about to kiss Bella good night in the room she shared with her sister when Moss, wearing only shorts, appeared in the doorway. He was holding a pair of scissors he had retrieved from a kitchen drawer.
Naidu-Barrett said Moss pushed Desrosiers aside and began slashing Bella in her neck with the 20-centimetre blade. Desrosiers tried to fight Moss as she told her other daughter to run to the bathroom and lock herself inside.
“While Ms. Desrosiers has attempted unsuccessfully to fight Mr. Moss off, Mr. Moss continued to cut Bella’s neck to the point of almost decapitating her,” Naidu-Barrett said.
When police officers arrived, they found Bella in a puddle of blood by the main entrance of the home, the lawyer said.
Moss, with hands and feet bloodied, was sitting on the couch.
After the attack, Desrosiers threw the scissors out the window, Naidu-Barrett told court.
While on his way to police headquarters, Moss did not say anything and appeared at some times to be asleep, the prosecutor said.
“In response to being asked if he had any injuries, he said, ‘My fingers are cut.’ When asked how they got cut, he said, ‘It was a murder.”’
He also made unsolicited comments to police later that night which included him saying he liked what he did.
“Mr. Moss acknowledged that the above statements were voluntary,” Naidu-Barrett told court.
A urine sample a few days after Bella’s death found Moss had cannabis in his system.
The trial is to continue on Wednesday when it’s expected the defence will make its opening statement.
Lawyers say multiple civilians, experts and Bella’s mother are to testify during the trial, which is scheduled for 15 days.
Moss is to testify at the end of this week.