A Marion man convicted in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend will be resentenced in McDowell County Superior Court.
In May 2016, 26-year-old Darian Jarelle Mosley of Marion was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Amy Renee Parker. A year and a half later, Mosley will be given a resentencing following a decision by the N.C. Court of Appeals.
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.
Defense attorney John Byrd claimed that the discharge of the rifle was accidental in nature, and that Mosley had attempted to save Parker after she was shot. Conversely, the prosecution argued that firing the weapon was intentional and the end result of a pattern of alleged physical abuse by Mosley.
Following seven days of testimony and nearly two hours of jury deliberation, Mosley was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison and was given credit for 191 days time served. Upon the jury’s verdict, Byrd subsequently appealed the decision.
In July 2016, family members and supporters of Mosley protested the initial verdict, alongside the Charlotte-based civil-rights group True Healing Under God. The group’s leader, John Barnett, contested the court’s decision based on a racially disproportionate jury and allegations that evidence had been distorted by the prosecution to present an alternative scenario.
“We feel strongly that Mr. Mosley should have the opportunity to seek justice for a second time,” said Barnett in a 2016 press conference.
On Oct. 17 of last year, the N.C. Court of Appeals granted Mosley an appeal, stating that the trial court erred in sentencing the defendant as a class B1 second-degree murder offense with an ambiguous verdict that did not specify if the felony offense was Class B1 or Class B2 in regards to “theory of 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.
McDowell District Attorney Ted Bell confirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision.
“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 Bell. “Unfortunately, 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 an email to The McDowell News, Courtney Holland, one of Parker’s three daughters, argued against the resentencing on the grounds that the evidence provided was enough to convict on the original decision.
“He is not getting the appeal because of the lack of evidence. The evidence is there, over 100 pieces of it,” wrote Holland. “He is getting this appeal because the court did not do their job correctly and because of this, the family is expected to be okay with him basically getting off scot-free while they struggle every day to live a life without her. How is this right?”
Holland also argued that resentencing Mosley under a class B2 offense could potentially allow him to only serve between five to six years in prison with good behavior.
“How would the citizens of McDowell feel to know there is a murderer that has no remorse for what he did walking the streets of McDowell?” wrote Holland. “Darian Mosley took a woman’s life. A woman that survived breast cancer only to be killed by a gunshot wound. He took 20 plus years from her, from her family, family that will never see her again…only for him to get a slap on the wrist and chance to commit another crime.”
Mosley’s resentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. in McDowell County Superior Court.