INDIO (CBS) — A death sentence was handed down Monday for a white man who fatally stabbed a black transient in a racially motivated attack near a Palm Springs restaurant.
David John Reed, 52, was convicted Sept. 8 of first-degree murder in the death of Ricky Mosley, and jurors agreed with a special circumstance allegation that the killing was a hate crime.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins upheld the jury’s Sept. 29 recommendation that Reed be put to death rather than be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hawkins — who also handed down a term of 25 years to life behind bars for a robbery that Reed committed a month after the murder — said the evidence supported the jury’s verdict and death penalty recommendation.
He cited how the defendant was lying in wait for the victim, the racially charged remarks he made during his confession to detectives, and allegations of past murders.
Reed’s attorney, John Patrick Dolan, countered that certain pieces of evidence were not presented about Mosley’s alleged sexual assault on Reed’s wife — which the defendant claimed was his motivation for killing the victim.
“Either way, that doesn’t affect my decision,” the judge replied.
Hawkins read a summary of Reed’s description of Mosley’s murder.
“I hit him right in the chest … it was a heart shot,” the judge quoted Mosley as telling detectives.
Hawkins also mentioned two murders in which Reed was suspected but never convicted. The brother of one of those victims, Brent Kibbe, spoke at the sentencing.
“It’s been 33 years since my brother was murdered,” said Steve Kibbe, whose sibling was slain in a Hawaii hotel room in July 1978.
“Why can’t (Reed) just do the right thing and admit to what he’s done? I don’t think words can explain what he’s put our family through,” Kibbe said.
“I didn’t kill your brother, sir, and I don’t know who did,” Reed told him. “I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you something different, but I can’t.”
He did not address Mosley’s family, and they did not speak at the hearing, though they did ask through Deputy District Attorney Christopher Ross to be reimbursed for funeral expenses.
Mosley’s body was found on March 9, 2004, near Billy Reed’s restaurant in the 1800 block of North Palm Canyon Drive. In a recorded interview, Reed told police detectives he had staked out the area for about two weeks for a man he believed had sexually assaulted his estranged wife.
Ross said the killing was racially motivated. He showed jurors a photo of Mosley’s stab wound and played the interview of Reed discussing the killing and using a racial epithet to describe the 34-year-old victim.
Ross said Reed waited for two weeks for Mosley to come around the restaurant and then stabbed him through the heart. He broke off the knife handle and hid it and the blade near his mother’s apartment building, the prosecutor said.
In an interview, Reed told investigators he doesn’t like black people, according to Ross, who showed jurors photos of Reed’s tattoos, one of which reads “white pride” and another that says “Peckerwood,” a term Ross said is associated with white supremacy.
Reed’s attorney said his client’s wife told her husband that Mosley had “brutally” sexually assaulted her near Toucans Tiki Lounge in Palm Springs.
The judge noted at sentencing that no suspects were identified or evidence found to prove the alleged attack ever occurred, and Reed’s wife did not testify at the trial.
Reed will be sent to death row at San Quentin State Prison. Under California law, a death sentence is automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court.
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