BONHAM — A jury found Dillon Mosley guilty Friday morning of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and later sentenced him to 10 years probation and a $10,000 fine. Mosley, 21, struck his girlfriend, Mandie Fuller, with his truck in February of last year. Ms. Fuller later died from her injuries.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 16, 2014, Mosley and Ms. Fuller, 17, met at the intersection of F.M. 1396 and F.M. 273 near Ivanhoe to talk. The two had been arguing for most of the previous day. During the argument, Ms. Fuller jumped up onto the side of Mosley’s truck as he attempted to drive away. Ms. Fuller lost her balance, fell under the truck and the truck’s back tires ran over her. She later died on the way to the hospital.
Mosley’s blood was later tested, and his blood alcohol content was found to be .161 grams — twice the legal limit.
After about four hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict at 11 a.m. Friday. They found Mosley guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“We are pleased with the verdict. The jury made the right decision,” said Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser. “Any time a life is taken in Fannin County, it is a serious matter. Mosley did not want to assume responsibility for his actions and the jury saw that.”
The punishment that Mosley could receive ranged from probation to 99 years in prison and a fine. In the sentencing phase, Prosecutor Brad Setterberg asked jurors to give Mosley a prison sentence. He would leave it to jurors to decide how much time Mosley should serve, Setterberg said.
Defense Attorney Melvyn Bruder did not give an opening statement. He called Mosley to the stand to testify again.
As Bruder questioned Mosley, Mosley gave jurors an insight into his background. He began working on his father’s farm at 11 years old and had been working ever since. As a high schooler, he started drinking beer on a regular basis. Before the Feb. 16 incident, Mosley said, he had never been charged with or convicted of a felony.
Since the Feb. 16 incident, Mosley said that he has not had any alcohol. He has participated in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and went to see a substance abuse counselor once. He currently works on a Fannin County farm. His boss knows “all about” his aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case, he said, and would let Mosley continue to work at the farm should he receive probation.
Setterberg then cross-examined Mosley and asked him about an incident that occurred in September of 2013 that jurors had not yet heard about. Mosley had been driving drunk in Odessa, crashed his truck and caused a five-car pileup. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated. His blood alcohol content for that night was .2. Setterberg pointed out that he had violated his bond violations for that offense.
“You were OK with violating bond conditions when you didn’t think you’d get caught,” Setterberg said.
“Yes,” Mosley replied, and then said that he would not violate probation conditions.
Setterberg asked if Mosley believed that the jury got the verdict right.
“I respect their decision,” Mosley said.
Later, each attorney gave closing arguments. Setterberg asked jurors to think beyond Mosley when deciding on a sentence.
“What does he (Mosley) sacrifice versus what everyone else sacrifies so that he could have a night of drinking and carousing?” Setterberg said. “Mandie’s family won’t get to see her again.”
Setterberg reminded the jury that, although Mosley said he would not violate his probation conditions, he had violated his bond conditions multiple times in the past. The only predictor jurors have of Mosley’s future behavior, Setterberg said, is his past behavior.
Setterberg said he believes rehabilitation is possible for Mosley, but that he can be rehabilitated in prison.
“Do what you think is best,” Setterberg said in closing.
Bruder then began his closing arguments by saying, “I believe in my client.” He asked that jurors believe in Mosley, too.
Bruder pointed to the fact that Mosley has been working since a young age, and said he would continue to work if he received probation. He also said there is no question that Mosley has a drinking problem. A penitentiary is a place for punishment, Bruder said, not rehabilitation.
“If he is given probation, he will be on a short, tight leash,” Bruder said. “He has demonstrated throughout the past year that he can live a law-abiding, working life. He will continue to do that.”
Bruder finished by saying that he regrets that there is “nothing much” that the defense can do for the Fullers. He asked again that the jury give Mosley a chance at rehabilitation.
The jury deliberated for about one hour before reaching a decision on the sentence. They sentenced Mosley to 10 years probation plus a $10,000 fine.
Judge Laurine Blake outlined some of Mosley’s probation conditions. She ordered that Mosley spend 170 days in the Fannin County Jail beginning immediately.
Mosley will have to complete 1,000 hours of community service, at least 500 of which must be spent visiting Fannin County schools and giving presentations to children warning them of the dangers of drinking and driving. He will have to continue to wear a monitor bracelet on his ankle to ensure that he does not drink alcohol.
On the anniversary of Ms. Fuller’s death each year, Mosley will have to spend the night in the Fannin County Jail.
Bruder said he was pleased with the outcome of the sentencing pahse.
“Cases where a jury has to decide whether a defendant has criminal responsibility are tough,” Bruder said. “The jury was right in giving him (Mosley) probation.”
Supporters of the fuller family did not share the same sentiments. Family friend Tanya DeLeon said she believes Mosley deserved to serve at least 25 years in prison.
“I hope he sees her face every time he closes his eyes,” DeLeon said. “I hope he loses sleep over it.”