A Marion man convicted in the 2013 death of his girlfriend has been resentenced following an N.C. Court of Appeals Decision and will likely spend fewer years in prison.
In May 2016, Darian Jarelle Mosley, 26, of Marion was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Amy Renee Parker and sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in jail. On Monday, Mosley, now 28, was resentenced to a minimum of 13 years following testimony from family members and attorneys.
On April 16, 2013, McDowell County deputies responded to Rocky Spur Drive near West Marion Elementary School to find Parker suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen from a .22-caliber rifle. She was pronounced dead at the hospital hours later. Mosley was charged several days later.
At the time of his arrest and during the trial in 2016, Mosley, who pleaded not guilty to the murder, claimed that he had been arguing that morning with his girlfriend, Parker, over text messages and left the house. When he returned, he began to gather his things, including clothing and the rifle used in the incident, with the intent to leave once again. At that time, Mosley said, Parker had reached toward the gun and it went off, hitting her in the abdomen.
Several factors were called into question regarding the firing of the weapon and actions attributed to alleged abuse. Defense attorney John Byrd argued that the discharge of the rifle was accidental, and that Mosley had not only attempted to save Parker after she was shot but was cooperative with law enforcement upon questioning.
Prosecuting attorneys, however, contested this, claiming that the shooting was intentional and that Parker had exhibited bruises on her body during an autopsy from prior abuse.
Following seven days of testimony and nearly two hours of jury deliberation, Mosley was originally sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison and was given credit for 191 days time served. Upon the jury’s verdict, Byrd appealed the decision.
On Oct. 17 of last year, the N.C. Court of Appeals granted Mosley an appeal, stating that the jury unanimously convicted the defendant of second-degree murder, but the verdict was silent on whether the second-degree murder was a Class B1 or Class B2 offense, rendering an ambiguous verdict based on whether there was additional evidence to support “depraved-heart malice”.
Under N.C. General Statute § 14-17, any person who commits second-degree murder shall be punished as a class B1 felon, except under the circumstances that malice is based on recklessness or the murder results from drug distribution, which are classified under Class B2.
As a result, the trial judge sentenced Mosley to 240 to 300 months prison, a term within the presumptive range of a Class B1 felony.
“Once the jury arrived at a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder, the Judge did not clarify which second- degree it was, but sentenced him (Mosley) at the higher level (B1),” said District Attorney Ted Bell. “The Court of Appeals said since it was not specified he can only be sentenced at the lower level, B2. As a result he has to be resentenced at the B2 level.”
A class B1 second-degree murder offense holds the maximum penalty of life without parole in prison, whereas Class B2 holds the maximum penalty of 393 months in prison.
In Monday’s resentencing in McDowell County Superior Court, members from both the Parker/Mace and Mosley families addressed presiding judge R. Gregory Horne of Watauga County.
“She (Amy) was my first-born daughter. Darian Mosley took Amy’s life,” said Vickie Mace, Parker’s mother. “All that we ask, Judge, is that we get justice for Amy.”
Courtney Holland, Parker’s daughter, reflected on her mother following her death.
“She was very outgoing, a vibrant lady. Simple things made her smile,” said Holland, who also referenced her mother’s battle with breast cancer before her death. “Since her murder, nothing has been the same. Every day is a struggle to make it through.”
Following Holland, Rev. Harvey Johnson took the stand, calling Mosley “a mild-mannered, quiet, respectful young man.” Johnson additionally objected to the notion that Mosley was not remorseful following the shooting.
“I would like to reject the idea that he had no remorse,” said Johnson. “He admitted that this tragedy occurred.”
Sonya Brown, Mosley’s mother, backed Johnson’s assessment of her son, further adding that he felt suicidal following the incident.
“He’s not perfect, nobody is, but he’s a good father and he’s very remorseful for what’s happened,” said Brown.
Following family testimonies and closing statements from prosecution and defense attorney Sarah Ziomek, Judge Horne sentenced Mosley to 157 to 201 months in prison and given 835 days time served.
The McDowell News reached out to both families following the verdict.
“He got 157 months minimum, so that makes us feel a little better,” said Johnson, comparing the previous and current verdicts. “His children still won’t be able to have the constant relationship with their father, but they can visit. But it’s better.”
The Parker/Mace family had conflicting thoughts but agreed with the end result.
“We’re happy that he got the maximum he could get,” said Mace, “instead of just the low sentencing. It’s horrible that it had to come down to resentencing. He didn’t deserve a resentencing.”
“I think he should consider himself blessed to get what he got,” said Holland. “I’m satisfied, whether it’s 10 or whatever, he’s where he needs to be.”
Brown additionally commented on the public reaction against her son following the initial trial and subsequent media coverage.
“I don’t want people to think that my son was this monster or that he didn’t feel remorse for what happened,” said Brown. “This was an accident. Everyone in our community thinks it was an accident, and we feel sorry for the other family involved.”