BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — David Moses, who as a teenager killed 81-year-old Dorothy Session, is set for resentencing later this month, where a judge will decide whether he will continue to serve life without parole or instead be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
At the Oct. 21 hearing, the defense also plans to introduce mitigating factors regarding Moses’ youth and mental capacity at the time of his arrest, information that will be preserved for potential future parole hearings.
Judge Charles R. Brehmer will preside over the resentencing. A prosecutor during a court hearing Tuesday said the family of Session opposes any change to Moses’ sentence.
Moses, 17 at the time, entered the house of Session on April 14, 2010, and hit her during a burglary, knocking her down. She died from the assault.
Moses and two co-defendants, Angelique Nash and Katila Nash, were each convicted of murder. The Nash sisters never touched Session, but were convicted under the state’s felony murder rule, which at the time stated a defendant could be found guilty of murder even if they weren’t the actual killer but committed a dangerous act such as robbery or burglary that resulted in an accidental or unintentional death.
Since their convictions, the law has been altered both in terms of the felony murder rule and in the factors that must be considered when sentencing juveniles.
As it applies to Moses, additional requirements have been added for consideration when sentencing a juvenile who was tried as an adult for murder with a special circumstance, such as murder for financial gain or in the commission of felonies including rape, robbery or kidnapping. The court must consider the defendant’s youthfulness, background and potential for rehabilitation, among other factors.
The change in the law gives a judge discretion to impose 25 years to life in prison rather than life without parole for juvenile offenders.
If Moses is given the lesser sentence, it will mark a change in circumstances for each of the defendants — all of whom were juveniles at the time — convicted in Session’s death.
Last month, Angelique Nash was granted a motion to be released from custody under a change to the felony murder rule, which now says a person must actually commit or aid in a killing, or have the intent to kill, during the commission of a crime in order to be charged with murder. Those who previously could have been charged with murder can now only be charged with the underlying crime, whether it’s robbery, burglary, carjacking or another serious crime.
The law is retroactive, and hundreds of defendants convicted under the felony murder rule have filed petitions to have their murder convictions dismissed. A hearing had not been scheduled for Angelique Nash’s petition as of Tuesday, according to court records.
And Katila Nash, 15 at the time of Session’s death, was released from custody last year after another law, SB 1391, stipulated anyone 15 or younger cannot be transferred to adult court for any crime — including murder. An appellate court ruled the law retroactively applied to Nash.