Jury convicts Chase
Sentencing set for July 24
Friday, June 21, 2013
Brandon Chase is guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in the April 22, 2012, death of Keith Mosely, 34, a Columbia drug dealer.
A Cole County jury took 31⁄2-hours to reach those verdicts Thursday — about the same length of time that a different jury took in March to reach a stalemate on the Jefferson City man.
Several of Chase’s relatives sobbed as Circuit Judge Dan Green read the three, separate verdicts Thursday afternoon.
Green set Chase’s bond at $250,000, and scheduled sentencing for July 24. Chase was taken to the Cole County Jail.
Public Defender Jan King also has time to move for a new trial in the next few weeks.
With the trial of Khiry Summers scheduled to begin July 8 on the same charges, both King and Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson declined to comment on the Chase trial and verdicts.
The prosecutor and defense lawyers can ask the judge to consider sentencing recommendations, but the final sentences are up to Green.
Chase faces a possible two life prison sentences — or from 10-30 years — on the murder and robbery convictions, and at least three years on the armed criminal action complaint.
But state law also doesn’t prohibit Green from ordering probation in the case.
Mosely was shot shortly after midnight, while sitting in an apartment at 1029-B Buena Vista St., waiting for Chase to return with money to complete a marijuana sale.
But, when Chase came back to the apartment, he was followed by two other men — one wearing a mask over most of his face — who apparently intended to steal the drugs.
Officials said Tracy Session, now 26, fired the fatal shot, and Session pleaded guilty last Nov. 7 as part of a plea bargain. Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce sentenced him to 20 years in prison in the case.
In Thursday morning’s closing arguments, Richardson urged the jury to find that the evidence showed that Chase was the mastermind of the armed robbery plot.
“We do not want people to plan crimes,” he explained. “If you drive the robbers to the bank, you’re guilty even if you don’t go inside.
“If you’re a taxi driver, you pick up a fare and take them to the bank, and you don’t know they’re going to rob the bank — you’re not guilty.”
In Chase’s case, Richardson argued, the crime started with Chase’s desire to buy high-grade marijuana — and a plan to take the drugs by force rather than pay for them.
“He makes people think he’s going to buy the drug at $660, but he works with Tracy Session and Khiry Summer, next door, to cause the robbery,” Richardson explained. “He never intended to buy; he always intended to rob.
“Even when he finds out that Mosely has the drugs, not Brent Slaughter.”
But King asked jurors to reject Richardson’s arguments as conjecture, not fact.
“You bet it’s important, particularly when an innocent man’s life is on the line,” King said. “The intent was a dope deal, not a robbery.”
King said the state’s witnesses presented a lot of speculation.
“Except for Brent Slaughter, there’s not accusations against Brandon Chase at all,” he argued.
And Slaughter, who said Mosely was a best friend, was angry Mosely had died, King noted.
He argued Chase had seen a gun and a mask in Sessions’ apartment — next door to the place where Mosely was shot — and went back to tell Mosely that Sessions and Summers planned to rob Mosely.
“But (he) wasn’t fast enough,” King explained. “That’s not armed robbery on Mr. Chase’s part.
“It is on theirs (Summers and Sessions), but not his.”
King told the jury to note that they had heard no evidence “that Brandon Chase was the mastermind.”
“Recognize what your job is, act on the evidence,” King urged the jury.
If they found Chase guilty, King said, “You’d be finding him guilty because you made the same dumb assumptions the prosecutor did.
“And that’s not right.”
But, Richardson also reminded jurors, they had a duty to convict criminals, to keep the community safer.
“When our community has a murder, it diminishes the entire community,” he argued.
A 10-woman, 2-man jury convicted Brandon Chase this afternoon of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.
Circuit Judge Dan Green set sentencing for July 24, and set Chase’s bond at $250,000.
Because Khiry Summers still faces a July 8 jury trial in the same case, neither Prosecutor Mark Richardson nor Public Defender Jan King would comment on the verdict.
Chase’s relatives sobbed when the verdicts were announced.
Chase, now 30, was charged with planning to rob Keith Mosely, 34, Columbia, so that Chase could get marijuana without paying for it.
But Mosely was shot during the robbery, which occurred about 12:15 a.m. on April 22, 2012, at an apartment at 1029-B Buena Vista.
He was pronounced dead at University Hospital, after being flown to the Columbia hospital by helicopter.
The jury deliberated the case for about 3 1/2 hours — the same length of time a jury in March deliberated after Chase’s first trial on the charges, but could not reach a decision.
Chase faces a possible two life prison sentences — or from 10-30 years — on the murder and robbery charges, and at least three years on the armed criminal action complaint.
Tracy Session, now 26, pleaded guilty last Nov. 7 as part of a plea bargain, and Cole County Presiding Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce sentenced him to 20 years in prison in the case.
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