NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Michael Mosley appeared in court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing in the case of a 2019 deadly stabbing outside a Midtown bar.
After hearing from two family members of the victims and from Mosley himself, Judge Angelita Dalton said she will issue a written sentence next week once she considered enhancement factors.
Mosley was found guilty in March of stabbing three people, killing two of them, outside the Dogwood Bar just days before Christmas 2019. A Davidson County jury deliberated for just an hour to convict him of two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault. Mosley's attorney said they plan to appeal the conviction.
He is currently serving a 12-year sentence for an unrelated assault, but Mosley could be sentenced to life in prison in this case.
During the early morning hours of December 21, 2019, Mosley stabbed Paul Trapeni III, Clay Beathard and AJ Bethurum during a fight outside the Dogwood Bar. Trapeni and Beathard died from their injuries and Bethurum lost vision in his left eye despite multiple surgeries. The victims were among a group of former Battle Ground Academy classmates who met up on their winter break to catch up.
Before the victim impact statements were read, the prosecution discussed Mosley's criminal history before the court. A former Cheatham County jail administrator took the stand to share his experience when Mosley was an inmate, saying he was in trouble a lot.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, but they did show the judge evidence of Mosley's alleged violent past. A video of a large brawl in March 2019at the Cheatham County jail was played. The sheriff's office said the fight began between Mosley and a man accused of murdering his family member.
The prosecution argued Mosley is a danger to anyone who encounters him. "Society needs to be protected against Michael Mosley," said Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman.
She asked the judge to give Mosley to consecutive life sentences, meaning he will have no chance at parole after serving 51 years.
Next, Norman read a letter submitted by Bethurum detailing how his life continues to be impacted by the stabbing.
Bethurum detailed how he has felt a complex battle of emotions in the years following the stabbings. He detailed the grief he feels from losing his friends and the drive to carry on their legacy.
"Living with the physical disability of only having vision in one eye is far from the greatest consequence resultant of the defendant’s actions," he wrote. "The emotional impact this process has had on my life is more notable. The unimaginable pain of losing two of your closest friends at the same time is something that I cannot put into words.”
Hear AJ Bethurum's victim impact statement in the video player below:
Caroline Mitchell, the sister of Trapeni, then took the stand. Mitchell shared the pain her family continues to feel after losing Trapeni.
"My parents are hurting every second of every minute of every day," she said. "The pain is not only ours to carry. The grief is so layered and so widespread. Like a ripple in the water, the reach at times seems limitless.
She said painful memories have now become part of her family's Christmas traditions.
"We will never have the lighthearted holiday season that so many enjoy. Paul's promising life was taken from him on December 21, 2019," Mitchell said. "Unwanted flashbacks, magnolia wreaths at Paul's spot in the cemetery, and mentally preparing for the dreaded anniversary are our new traditions."
Mitchell ended her statement by reading from Trapeni's journal. In 2019, he wrote a list of things he was thankful for: a healthy family, a wonderful girlfriend, a life he had little to worry about, a great school, great friends and amazing parents.
"In Paul's own words, this is what was taken from him," she said.
Listen to Caroline Mitchell's victim impact statement in the video player below:
The final family member to speak was Beathard's father Casey Beathard. He shared how his religion has helped him get through these difficult years.
"In God’s kingdom, nothing goes wasted. Clay is safe, he’s not lost, neither is Paul, but [they are] in fact swallowed up by life. The Bible says that, and that’s the hope that covers us every day," he said. "We're going to see Clay again soon, and that is the hope we carry. That is what has saved us."
Through tears, Casey Beathard spoke directly to Mosley, saying God loves him.
"I know your life has been hard here, man, and that stinks, that sucks, I know it," Casey Beathard said to Mosley. "But please give it a chance, give [God] a chance, please."
Hear Casey Beathard's victim impact statement in the video player below:
Lastly, Mosley himself took the stand, where he apologized for his actions and discussed how his life has been impacted following his brother's murder in 2016. During his trial, Mosley waived his right to testify.
"First and foremost, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry your family and friends lost their lives because of my actions. And I'm sorry for the insurmountable pain and suffering you went through as a result. I say that with sincerity, not because it's expected of me," he said. "I never intended to take their lives and put you through the suffering. I made an impulsive decision I will regret for the rest of my life."
Watch Michael Mosley take the stand in the video player below:
Timeline of deadly Dogwood Bar stabbings
December 21, 2019
Metro police reported a stabbing in Midtown outside The Dogwood Bar. Two people, identified as 21-year-old Paul Trapeni III and 22-year-old Clayton Beathard, were killed. A third person, 21-year-old AJ Bethurum, was seriously hurt.
Police said the suspect made an unwanted advancement toward a woman who was friends with the victims inside The Dogwood Bar. Around 3 a.m., an argument led to a fight outside the bar on Division Street. During the fight, the three men were stabbed.
Surveillance photos of the suspect were released.
December 22, 2019
Metro police named 23-year-old Michael Mosley as a person wanted for questioning. Police said Mosley was "strongly believed to have definitive information about the murders."
Later that day, Mosley made contact with police, according to his attorney.
Metro police then officially named Mosley as a suspect in the stabbings.
December 23, 2019
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Mosley to its Most Wanted list.
Here are additional mug shots of Michael Mosely, the latest attention to the TBI MOST WANTED list, wanted out of Nashville. He should be considered armed and dangerous. Seen him or know where he is? Call 1-800-TBI-FIND! pic.twitter.com/OfybO5R09d— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) December 24, 2019
December 25, 2019
Mosley was arrested on Christmas Day in Cheatham County on two counts of criminal homicide and one count of attempted criminal homicide.
He surrendered at a vacant home on Petway Road after it was surrounded by law enforcement officers.
January 7, 2020
Mosley made his first court appearance in this case. Witnesses testified that the argument started when Mosley was talking to a woman who was friends with the victims inside the bar.
After the Dogwood closed, investigators told the court Mosley punched a man in the group of friends, which turned the argument physical. Police said within a minute of that punch, the three men were stabbed.
Mosley's attorney at the time told the court his client was acting in self-defense.
During the hearing, the court heard from a friend of Mosley's who was a witness to the assault, AJ Bethurum, who survived the stabbing, and a detective who responded to the stabbing.
The judge found probable cause to send the case to a grand jury. Mosley was continued to be denied bond.
February 10, 2020
Mosley penned a letter to NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres, stating he acted in self-defense.
Mosley wrote that he feels he's already been convicted by public opinion.
November 15, 2021
Mosley and his attorney made an offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge, but the deal was rejected by prosecutors.
March 28, 2022
The trial for Mosley begins with opening statements and Judge Angelita Dalton presiding.
March 31, 2022
A Davidson County jury found Mosley guilty on two counts of criminal homicide, one count of attempted criminal homicide and one count of assault.
Michael Mosley's Criminal History
Prior to the fight outside the Dogwood Bar, Mosley has been involved in other assault cases.
Back in 2015, police say Mosley was charged in another stabbing incident. Records show he was charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an argument about a toddler.
In December 2018, police said he entered a Walmart on Charlotte Pike, walked up to a woman and began violently assaulting her — including punching and kicking her and dragging her across the floor. Police said he was free on bond from this crime when the 2019 stabbing happened.
In October 2021, Mosley was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the Nashville Walmart assault. He was convicted of criminal attempt to commit aggravated assault.
Mosley was allegedly involved in a jail riot in Cheatham County. He was one of six people charged with instigating the riot in March 2019.
Clayton Beathard, Paul Trapeni III and AJ Bethurum were all 2016 graduates of Battle Ground Academy in Franklin. A group of BGA graduates had gathered in Midtown Nashville to catch up over their Christmas break hours before the stabbings.
While at BGA, Beathard was a standout football player — named Tennessee's Division II Class A Mr. Football in 2014. After graduation, Beathard went on to play football at several colleges, most recently at Long Island University.
Beathard was the brother of NFL quarterback CJ Beathard and grandson of NFL Hall of Famer Bobby Beathard. His father, Casey Beathard, is a Grammy-nominated country music songwriter.
Trapeni attended Rhodes College in Memphis.
Bethurum, who survived the attack, was a student at the University of Tennessee Knoxville when the stabbings occurred.