Prosecution To Seek Death Penalty In Deaths Of Mother, Child

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - John Mosley Jr. strangled a woman and suffocated her baby to avoid an upcoming hearing to determine if he was the infant's father, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday at Mosley's first-degree murder trial.

But Mosley's attorney says the statement of the prosecution's star witness -- a 15-year-old boy -- were inconsistent.

Mosley is charged with the deaths of Lynda Wilkes and her 10-month-old baby Jay-Quan Mosley. If Mosley is convicted, prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty.

"The court had ordered child support and he was not happy," said Assistant State Attorney Libby Senterfitt. "On April 22, 2004, this defendant took Lynda Wilkes to a desolate area where he strangled her with his bare hands."

The baby was placed alive into a plastic bag and placed next to Wilkes' body in the back of Mosley's car. Wilkes's body, which had been set afire, was found several days later near Waldo, about 50 miles southwest of Jacksonville.

The baby's body was placed in a garbage bin in Ocala, the prosecution's chief witness said. Although investigators spent several days combing through rubble near Valdosta, Ga., the baby's body was never found.

Prosecutors said they will connect Mosley to the slaying by blood found in the back of his car, cell phone records, which allowed them to follow his movements on the day of the slayings, and testimony from a 15-year-old friend of Mosley, who told police he witnessed the killings.

The teen, Bernard Griffin, charged with being an accessory after the fact in the case, was the first witness in the case. During his emotional testimony, not only did he break down on the stand, but Channel 4's at least one juror was also in tears.

Defense attorney Richard Kuritz questioned the prosecutor's theory about Mosley's supposed motivation and said some of Griffin's statements to police were inconsistent. He also said Griffin had borrowed Mosley's cell phone and some of the calls attributed to Mosley were actually made by Griffin.

Police were under extreme pressure to make an arrest in the case and focused on Mosley.

"The family anointed Mr. Mosley as the easy target," Kuritz said. "They made an arrest to fit into their theory."

After his arrest on the murder charges, Mosley denied any involvement in either the deaths and claimed he was not the infant's father.

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