During his trial and even when he was found guilty of capital murder for shooting Billy Stacks, a gas station clerk, in the head and shoulder, Dameon Jamarc Mosley did not show emotion.
As the jury decides if he will get the death penalty or life in prison, he finally broke down on Monday as his mom talked about physically abusing him, including hitting him with a skillet.
The prosecution and defense have rested and the jury will now hear rebuttals and closings before making their decision.
In court Monday, Linda Smith, Mosley’s mother, testified that she broke his hand at age 14 or 15 when she slammed it with a skillet for stealing money out of her purse.
Smith recalled Mosley as defiant and he would upset her easily. She would beat the kids with extension cords and belts if things weren’t the way she wanted.
As she spoke, Mosley appeared to wipe his face as his mother testified about the abuse. In court, Mosley is wearing headphones because he can’t hear out of his right ear and the headphones help him.
The details of Mosley’s traumatic childhood and his intellectual ability were the focus of his defense on Monday.
During the punishment phase, the defense said the jury would receive a “scrapbook” of Mosley’s life.
Mosley, 28, could be sentenced to death or life in prison. Stacks, 62, of Tyler, was a clerk at the Conoco gas station at 3319 NNE Loop 323 when the convenience store was robbed in the early hours of Jan. 28, 2017. Officials said Stacks was shot several times in the head and shoulder.
Mosley pleaded not guilty Nov. 7 in 114th District Court.
Smith testified Mosley had notable behaviors in his youth, such as playing with his stool, chasing animals and putting sticks up animals’ rectums. He was put on medication after being deemed emotionally disturbed, she said.
Mosley’s sister, Shamecca, testified that she recalls being in charge of her younger siblings at age 11. She said her brother once put a cat in the dryer, which killed the animal. She said, as a child, Mosley needed help brushing his teeth and tying his shoes.
His sister also said when things weren’t right, their mom would yell and scream and sometimes spank them.
He was placed in a structured class for kids with special needs, Smith testified.
Mosley was diagnosed with ADHD, oppositional defiance disorder and a hearing impairment during his youth.
In a 2004 Tyler ISD record, Mosley’s mother told school officials she used timeouts for discipline because she thought she would be in trouble for telling the school she beat her children.
Smith testified that she knew Stacks and his wife, Cheryl, him from working at Family Dollar and her from the school. She said Stacks was a great friend.
“I immediately told him (Mosley) that was my friend. And he said ‘I know momma, I know,’” Smith said. “I felt like it was my fault. I didn’t give him that structure or love he needed.”
Smith went on to say that her son is and can be a loving person.
“I just feel like he made a reckless mistake,” Smith said. “Even though he did take a life, I feel like it was an accident. I really do.”
Smith said that Mosley cannot function alone, calling him a follower and someone who doesn’t think about consequences.
She testified that she would drink a 30-pack of beer daily and physically beat her children when they upset her slightly.
Smith told the jury she came from an abusive home with alcoholic parents. The mother of eight, she had her first child at age 17, Smith testified.
“It made me feel good to drink. It was comforting for me to drink,” Smith said.
She married Mosley’s father and they moved to Nebraska. Her much older husband was sentenced to federal prison twice on drug trafficking charges. She later came back to Tyler with their three children.
She met an older man, who got a house for her and the children in exchange for sex. In addition to legitimate jobs, she testified that she had sex for the financial assistance and sold marijuana at times.
She acknowledged that mistakes were made during Mosley’s childhood, but at the time she didn’t care because of her addiction. She said she doesn’t want son to get the death penalty.
Smith said she later married another man and has been sober for 10 years.
Dr. Christi Compton, a psychologist who evaluated Mosley, testified he showed mild intellectual disability based on her assessment and past testing records.
For the assessment, Compton discussed Mosley’s ability to function with his mother since she was someone who has been around him consistently. Compton said she does not question Smith’s reliability, although she might have a difficult time recalling exact events due to past addiction.
The state also went over tests from 1999 to 2009 showing Mosley above the range of intellectual disability, which was known as mental retardation prior to 2013.
Compton testified those assessments were brief and not comprehensive, and at least one time there was no testing associated with the finding.
She explained that IQ is consistent throughout life for the most part, as is the case with Mosley’s reports.
He was also diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder based on childhood aggressive behavior and lack of empathy as well as the behavioral progression, Compton said.
Based on her informal questioning of Mosley, Compton said he lacks the ability to think outside the box and does not have problem solving skills that most have.
A licensed school psychologist went over Mosley’s school records to review issues that were addressed by the school district during Head Start, middle school and in special education records.
At about 5 years old, he was found to be in the average range for his grade and age level. His mother had reported average range for his motor function, low average to borderline deficit for communication, deficit for how he takes care of himself, and near deficit for socialization skills, the psychologist testified.
The records also showed he appeared to have a problem staying focused. He was identified as a student with an emotional disturbance and, later on, a learning disability, speech impediment and ADHD and hearing loss in his right ear were discovered.
In 1999, nonverbal intellectual tests showed average range for intellect, but based on records received, he was not given an IQ test to determine general intellect, the school psychologist said.
Based on the school records, Mosley was never found intellectually disabled, he testified.