Lenny O. Moss was sentenced May 17 to life without the possibility of parole plus 55 years for the shooting murder of Tyisha Davis, his wife and the mother of his four children.
He was tried in McDuffie County Superior Court May 15-17 for the Dec. 20, 2016 murder of Davis. Superior Court Judge Britt Hammond tried him in a bench trial.
Moss decided on March 19, 2018 to waive his right to a jury trial and decided to allow a superior court judge to hear his murder case and sentence him, instead of allowing a jury to determine his innocence or guilt.
District Attorney William Doupe´, with assistance from Assistant District Attorney Seterria Brodnex, prosecuted the case. Attorney Mary Booker of Washington represented Moss in the bench trial.
The Thomson Police Department was dispatched to a home in the 1000 block of Spruce Street at 8:53 p.m., Dec. 20, 2016 after residents reported hearing gunshots. The police discovered Tyisha Davis, 23, dead inside her home. She had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene. The GBI was called in to assist the police department with the homicide investigation. The agency determined that Lenny O. Moss, then 25, of Thomson entered Davis' home and shot her.
Moss is the father of Davis’ four children and was no longer living in the home on Spruce Street at the time of the shooting. He was arrested inside a trailer outside of Dearing Dec. 22, 2016.
A June 2017 McDuffie County Grand Jury indicted Moss for malice and felony murder as well as cruelty to children in the first degree because the children under the age of 18 were present and witnessed the shooting. He also was charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault because he shot into the house that was occupied by his four children and others were present inside the home as well.
Over the course of the trial, the prosecution called at least 20 witnesses, which included members of law enforcement and Davis’ family. The defense planned called at least two witnesses.
In opening statement, Doupe´ described a violent and long-term, relationship between Davis and Moss before the Dec. 20, 2016 murder. He told the court that Davis had applied for an order or protection from Moss and an arrest warrant for Moss on Dec. 2, 2016.
Doupe´ said that law enforcement had been seeking Moss to serve the protection order and arrest warrant but he was able to evade them.
He said that on Dec. 20, 2016, Davis was in a kitchen cooking at about 9 p.m., the children were in an adjourning room and other relatives and friends were in other rooms in the house and her brother’s friend, Travtavious Moss, who is currently serving 20 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter in another murder case, was in the kitchen with Davis when there was a knock at the door of the Spruce St. home.
“The defendant convinced his 5 year-old son to open the door. Then he came in with a gun and another child exclaimed my daddy is in the house,” Doupe´ said. The defendant confronted Davis and saw Travtavious Moss in the house and pointed the gun at him. Travtavious Moss ran down the hall to hid in a bedroom and Moss then confronted Davis, Doupe´ said.
“Tyisha was yelling at him to put the gun down and he stood in front of her and from a close distance, he shot her to death,” he said. She was shot once in the chest and once in her pelvis and died on the kitchen floor. Doupe´ said Moss also went outside and fired four shots into windows of the home.
Moss fled the scene and was on the run for two days before he arrested at a trailer on Boyd Bradshaw Road in Dearing.
“Your honor, when all of the evidence is put together and put before you, we expect the evidence to be beyond any kind of doubt that this defendant is guilty of each and every count,” Doupe ´said.
Booker agreed that a tragedy occurred. “We definitely agree to the lengths to the tragedy that occurred in this matter as a result of actions taken by my client,” Booker said, adding that the children are without a mother and with Moss being before the court, the children are also without their father.
Caliyah Cox, Davis’ 14-year old sister, witnessed the shooting. She told the court about being in the kitchen helping Davis cook and Tratavious Moss being seated in the kitchen talking to them. She testified about Lenny Moss peeping through the windows on previous occasions and seeing him the night of the shooting. She said that when the five-year old let his father inside the house, he pointed the gun at Tratavious Moss and questioned his presence in the home.
Booker said jealously led Moss and she questioned Cox about a possible romance or intimacy between Davis and Tratavious Moss. Cox testified that she had not witnessed a romantic relationship between Davis and Tratavious Moss.
During the sentencing, Hammond said he paid close attention to the evidence in the case and thanked the attorneys for their preparation and the professional manner in which they handled the case.
The attorneys told the court that the case had the ingredients of anger, loss of control, possible adultery, jealously and domestic violence.
Moss claimed that he saw intimacy between Davis and Travtavious when he arrived to the Sprice Street home that even to bring Davis some requested items. He said he looked through the window, saw what was going on, lost control and "blacked out." He said he fired he gun but did not intentionally shoot Davis.
"I did not intentionally shoot my wife," he said. "I did not mean to harm her."
Hammond told the court that after hearing the evidence, listening to the arguments and considered the law, there was not doubt to Moss’ guilt. He said he was reminded of the Proverb about anger flowing cruel like a raging river, but jealous is even more dangerous. “You lost control,” the judge said. “Who can stand against the power of jealously?”
Hammond told Moss that his actions will adversely affect the children who witnessed him shot their mother. “They will carry this for the rest of their lives, and it will affect everything they do.”
The judge said Moss’ malice created a high casualty list.