EDITOR’S NOTE: The details in this court case are disturbing.
The closing arguments in the trial for David Michael Moss were heard in court Monday morning, and the judge has reserved his decision.
Moss stands charged with second-degree murder in the death of seven-year-old Bella Rose Desrosiers.
Desrosiers died from being stabbed inside her family home at 25 Avenue NW and 43 Street NW in Mill Woods on May 18, 2020.
Moss’ mental state at the time of her death is of critical importance in the case.
Bella Rose and her sister were being tucked in for bed by their mother, Melissa Desrosiers, when Moss came upstairs armed with scissors and started slashing the child.
During the trial, Melissa testified she wanted to help Moss after hearing he was mentally unwell. Her own husband had previously taken his own life.
Worried Moss might be suicidal, she hid her knife-block before bringing Moss to her home.
“My fear was that he would kill himself, and he had a family, and I didn’t want the same loss for another family that I had,” she said.
Her plan was to take Moss to the hospital for help after she got her daughters to sleep.
READ MORE: Slain 7-year-old’s mom takes the stand in Edmonton murder trial
Moss has already admitted to killing Bella Rose, but the issue in question is whether or not he had the requisite intent and understanding for murder.
His defense argues Moss should be found not criminally responsible.
In court Monday, Moss sat in the prisoner’s box looking disheveled in his orange jumpsuit, his hair askew.
Though his own family and relatives of Bella Rose were in attendance in the courtroom, he did not look at them, instead keeping his head down, looking at his own feet.
In the closing arguments, Moss’ lawyer Rod Gregory argued his client has had psychotic episodes dating back to 2004, when he suffered a brain injury.
Gregory pointed to Moss’ belief in things like aliens, 5G affecting people and poisonous jet streams as examples of his client’s delusions.
The lawyer stated Moss also believed he could inject fear into people by tattooing them, and went on religious rants that defy conventional religious thoughts.
Gregory said Moss’ actions after the crime also show he wasn’t in a proper state of mind.
“After the incident, he was in a state of psychosis and just sat on the couch like an automaton until he was arrested,” Gregory told the court.
READ MORE: Wife, sister of man accused of killing Edmonton girl in Mill Woods testify at murder trial
Co-defense counsel Chasidy Bishop told the judge if he’s going to find Moss guilty, it should be of manslaughter, and not murder.
“This is not someone who’s operating with a rational and functioning mind.”
Bishop argued when Moss said things like he could feel the devil that “these statements are bizarre and illogical.”
She also pointed out there is no understandable reasoning behind Bella Rose’s death.
“Mr. Moss had no rational motive for harming or wanting to kill Bella — the parties were not known to each other,” Bishop said.
READ MORE: 7-year-old stabbing victim Bella Rose Desrosiers had ‘a huge, kind heart’
Shivani Naidu-Barrett, the Crown prosecutor, said “Moss committed an unthinkable act.”
She pointed out that because Moss is claiming a defense of not criminally responsible, the burden shifts onto his defense lawyers, not the Crown, to prove that.
Naidu-Barrett said one of the experts called to testify at the trial, a medical doctor, told court you wouldn’t expect a psychosis to occur 16 years after a brain injury.
She is arguing the psychosis was drug-induced, because of Moss’ self-admitted increased marijuana use in the pandemic.
A drug-induced psychosis would not be eligible for a defense of not criminally responsible.
Naidu-Barrett pointed to Moss’ conspiracy theory beliefs as “views of many shared online. These are not evidence of psychosis.”
The Crown also pointed out that Moss has recovered well since being arrested — he no longer believes in many of the conspiracy theories and his condition has improved.
She said that’s more indicative of drug-induced psychosis than an ongoing brain trauma.
Another point of contention is whether Moss knew what he was doing was wrong. Court heard after killing Bella Rose he told police officers there was a murder and that he liked it.
She said Moss also reported having difficulty sleeping afterwards because he was ashamed of what he did.
As the families were leaving the courtroom, Moss’ family approached Melissa and offered their condolences.
“We’re so sorry for your loss,” his mother said.
“I can’t believe my son did this,” his father told her.
He asked if he could give Melissa a hug, but it was declined.
The judge reserved his decision, and is expected to present it at the end of April.
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