Man convicted of 2004 murders wants new trial

John Mosley files motion asking for new trial, saying there's new evidence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A notable murder case almost 15 years ago is now being challenged by the man convicted.

John Mosley wants a new trial, and points to the former medical examiner in Duval County as his reason.

Mosley was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2004 murders of Lynda Wilkes and her 10-month-old baby, Jay-Quan Mosley. Wilkes wanted child support from Mosley, who denied the child was his.

Wilkes and Jay-Quan disappeared in April 2004. Her burned body was found a week later. The baby’s body was never found. The search included dozens of police officers combing through a landfill in Valdosta, Georgia.

Mosley was a flamboyant defendant, who insisted all along that a teenager who was charged as an accomplice was the real killer.

That teenager, Bernard Griffin, testified against Mosley at trial, telling the jury in detail how he committed the murders, strangling Wilkes and suffocating Jay-Quan. 

Mosley was convicted of both murders in 2005.

The death penalty vote was 8-4. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, but ordered a new sentencing hearing.

Now, Mosley has filed his own motion, asking for a new trial -- saying there’s new evidence. He’s raising the issue of the mental competence of former Duval County Chief Medical Examiner Margarita Arruza.

Arruza resigned in 2011 as chief medical examiner. The state attorney's office said it was made aware of her "forgetfulness" in Oct. 2010. Later, the I-TEAM found out from current Duval County Chief Medical Examiner Valerie Rao that there were problems with Aruzza's forgetfulness dating back to 2008. It's something the staff did not report because Arruza was doing her job. 

Mosley's motion says there's new evidence that the state attorney's office knew about Arruza's condition, but didn't disclosure it during his trial. He says in his filing that she ruled Wilkes' death "undetermined," but was convinced by prosecutors to testify it was by strangulation. The body was burned and had been scavenged by animals. 

Mosley says Arruza also falsified a document on the transfer of Wilkes' body from Alachua County, where it was found, to Jacksonville. Mosley further claims that Arruza was not accredited at the time of his trial.

Mosley says Griffin lied to the jury after a “secret meeting” with prosecutors. 

He says all of those grounds should mean a new trial for him. 

A hearing in Mosley’s resentencing case is scheduled for March 20. 

About the Authors:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.