Carl Moseley was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for the sexual assault and murder of a woman. According to court documents Carl Moseley would meet the victim at a bar and the two would leave together. Soon after they left Carl Moseley would sexually assault and murder the woman. Carl Moseley would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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Deborah Henley was a 38-year-old petite woman with a speech impediment who lived with her mother in the Old Town section of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. On Thursday evening, July 25, 1991, Henley’s sister dropped her off at the SRO Club, a local dance club in Winston-Salem. According to her mother, Henley had approximately eight dollars with her when she left for the club.
Appellant Carl Moseley and two of his friends, Travis Key and Tony Casstevens, also frequented the SRO Club and were there that evening. Moseley and Key had spent most of the day together and had thoroughly washed Key’s car, inside and out. Moseley then borrowed Key’s car to go home and get ready to go to the club. Key later rode to the club with another friend, where he met Moseley and Casstevens about 9:00 p.m.
When the club closed at approximately 1:30 a.m., Henley went outside and asked Duane Shouse for a ride home, but he was unable to help her. An employee of the club offered to let Henley use the telephone, but Henley declined. According to several witnesses, Henley was instead telling patrons that she would pay $50 for a ride home. Carl Moseley, Key, and Casstevens were also outside the club at the time. Key saw Henley talking to Shouse and, later, to Moseley. A few minutes later, Moseley approached Key and asked to borrow Key’s car to take Henley home. Moseley told Key that Henley had offered to pay him $50 for the ride and that he would split the money with Key. Key initially resisted, but finally agreed. Key and Casstevens saw Henley get into Key’s car with Moseley and drive away at approximately 1:40 a.m. Henley never arrived home.
Key and Casstevens stayed behind at the club to wait for Moseley to return with Key’s vehicle. Based upon where Moseley said Henley lived, they expected Moseley to return in approximately 15 to 30 minutes. When Carl Moseley did not return for more than an hour, the two men left the club in Casstevens’ vehicle. As they were driving, they saw Moseley coming towards them in Key’s vehicle. Moseley was alone. Both vehicles pulled over and the men got out. When Key asked Moseley where he had been, Moseley told the men that “the damn bitch didn’t live where she said she did.” J.A. 883. Carl Moseley told the men that she lived on the other side of King, North Carolina, presumably to explain his delay. That statement was untrue, but even if it had been true, the additional distance did not explain the inordinate delay in Moseley’s return. In addition, Moseley told the men that Henley did not have any money. A law enforcement officer who happened by the area witnessed the three men standing beside the road and briefly stopped to ask if there was a problem. After taking Moseley home, Key returned to his home and went to bed. The next morning, Key noticed a small amount of dirt and weeds on the floorboard of the driver’s side of his vehicle. As noted previously, Key’s car had been thoroughly washed just before Moseley drove it to the SRO Club the previous evening.
On Friday evening, Tommy Beroth, a property owner in a rural area of Forsyth County, discovered Henley’s body partially hidden under cut corn stalks in his cornfield. The cornfield was approximately five miles and a nine-minute drive from the SRO Club and within one mile of Henley’s home. There was testimony that Moseley had travelled the roads near the cornfield in the past and, therefore, was presumably familiar with them. Henley was completely naked, and her clothing was never found. She had been brutally beaten about the head, face, neck, chest, and abdomen, sexually assaulted with a blunt instrument, stabbed twelve times in the chest, tortured by means of two long incisions on her chest and two more across her neck, and manually strangled. A single dark hair was found underneath one of her fingernails. There was no spermatozoa or semen detected.
The following day, Carl Moseley called both Casstevens and Key and asked them not to tell anyone that he had been at the SRO Club on Thursday night because he was on probation and was not supposed to be drinking alcohol in such environments. Key and Casstevens, however, had been to clubs with Moseley before and Moseley had never previously made such a request. When Casstevens pointed out to Moseley that his name would be on the sign-in sheets at the SRO Club, Moseley told Casstevens that he had gone to Nancy Bolt’s house that evening and that she would be his alibi.1
Aware by that time of rumors that a woman had disappeared from the SRO Club on Thursday night, Casstevens and Key contacted the police. The police obtained search warrants and retrieved the clothing that Moseley was wearing that evening at the SRO Club, as well as two pocket-knives among his possessions. Traces of blood were present on Moseley’s boots, shirt, and jeans, indicating secondary transfer or spattering, but the quantities were insufficient to determine the origin. A pathologist testified that the size and shape of the wounds inflicted on Henley were consistent with the two knives seized by authorities. Although there was conflicting testimony from Moseley’s soil expert, the state’s soil analyst found the soil on Moseley’s boots to be consistent with soil samples taken from the crime scene.
During the trial, the prosecution was allowed to present evidence of Moseley’s alleged involvement in the similar rape and murder of Dorothy Woods Johnson, whose body was found in adjoining Stokes County, North Carolina, approximately three months before Henley was murdered.
Dorothy Johnson was also last seen alive at the SRO Club. She was 35 years old, petite, and also suffered from a speech impediment. On the evening of April 12, 1991, she drove to the SRO Club where she met her friend Sherry Hoss and Hoss’s then-boyfriend, Dexter Mabe. During the evening, two witnesses at the club saw Johnson dancing and talking with Carl Moseley, whose name appeared on the SRO Club’s sign-in sheets. Moseley was wearing a cowboy hat and dark jeans. Hoss and Mabe left the club around 11:00 p.m. and walked to a nearby motel where they stayed for the remainder of the night. Johnson was still at the SRO Club when they left.
Johnson’s nude body was later found in a rural area called Friendship Forest. She had multiple blunt force injuries to her head, neck, chest, abdomen, and body, and had been sexually assaulted. Spermatozoa and semen were present on vaginal and rectal smears. The semen was estimated to have been deposited within twelve hours of Johnson’s death. Johnson had a single black hair underneath one of her fingernails. Johnson’s car and her purse were left at the SRO Club. Pam James, a former girlfriend of Moseley, testified that she and Moseley would sometimes drive to the Friendship Forest area, near where Johnson’s body was found, to have sexual relations. A resident of the area, and acquaintance of Moseley and James, testified that Moseley had once questioned her and her husband about their property and remarked that it would be a good place to leave a body because it would take days before it would be found.
During the initial investigation of Johnson’s murder, law enforcement identified Dexter Mabe, Daniel Cannaday, and several other men as possible suspects. Mabe had dark hair, was dating Hoss at the time of the murder, was present at the SRO Club that night, and had been involved in disagreements with Johnson about his relationship with Hoss in the past. Cannaday was Johnson’s former boyfriend and was known to have been possessive and jealous of Johnson before he ended his relationship with her. However, both men were ultimately eliminated as suspects. DNA samples obtained from both men did not match the DNA samples retrieved from Johnson’s body and each man had provided an alibi for the evening.
The DNA profile from semen found in Johnson did, however, match Moseley’s DNA profile, which was obtained after Key and Casstevens alerted authorities that Henley had left the SRO Club with Moseley on the night Henley was murdered. As noted previously, Carl Moseley was seen dancing and talking to Johnson on the night of Johnson’s murder. According to Michael Budzynski, of the DNA Unit of the State Bureau of Investigation, the chance that Moseley was not the donor of the semen found in Johnson was approximately one in 274 million.
There were striking and obvious similarities between the murders of Johnson and Henley, indicating a common killer. Johnson and Henley were both last seen alive at or leaving the SRO Club. Henley was with Moseley when she left the SRO Club and Johnson was seen in the company of Moseley near the time of her disappearance. The women were of similar age and had small physical builds. Henley was 38 years old, approximately 5′4″ tall, and weighed approximately 105 pounds. Johnson was 35 years old, approximately 5′6″ tall, and weighed approximately 82 pounds. And, both women suffered from speech impediments.
The nature and extent of the victims’ injuries and the causes of their deaths were also similar. As discussed in more detail below, both women sustained multiple blunt force injuries to their head, neck, chest, abdomen, and body, and had defensive injuries. Both women had also been sexually assaulted with a foreign object, tortured, and strangled. In addition, both women were found completely naked in rural areas where Moseley was known to have traveled. Both women had dirt around their fingernails, both were barefoot, and both had ground-in dirt on the soles of their feet. An FBI witness testified that the signature to each crime was overkill-the murderer inflicted far more injuries to the victims than necessary to cause death and employed multiple means of death, any one of which would have been alone sufficient.
The evidence regarding Johnson’s murder was admitted in the Henley murder trial pursuant to Rule 404(b) to show identity of the perpetrator, the existence of a similar modus operandi, intent, and design. See N.C. Gen.Stat. § 8C-1, Rule 404(b) (“Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts ․ may ․ be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake, entrapment or accident.”).2 Clearly, there was evidence from which the jury could find that the murders were committed by the same person. Moseley offered no evidence that excluded him as the murderer of either woman, arguing primarily that the DNA evidence was not reliable and that, even if it was, it only proved that Moseley had sexual relations with Johnson in the hours immediately prior to her death. He argued that the killer was an unknown dark-haired man.