Opening statements conclude in trial for deadly 2019 stabbing outside Midtown bar

Michael Mosley in court on day 1
Posted at 3:40 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 08:59:49-04

Opening statements are over in the trial for Michael Mosley, who is accused of killing two and injuring another in a stabbing outside a Midtown bar.

Mosley is facing two counts of criminal homicide and one count of attempted criminal homicide.

Metro police said an argument over a woman inside The Dogwood Bar led to a fight outside the establishment on Division Street days before Christmas 2019. Mosley is accused of stabbing Paul Trapeni III, Clayton Beathard and AJ Bethurum. Trapeni and Beathard were taken to the hospital, where they later died.

The group was out together as classmates, who had recently graduated from Battle Ground Academy in Williamson County.

Mosley's attorneys have previously said he acted in self-defense. Mosley said he offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge, but the prosecution rejected the deal.

The jury was selected from a pool of Davidson County residents on Monday morning. Judge Angelita Dalton is presiding over the trial.

Last October, Mosley was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a 2018 assault at a Nashville Walmart.

Court will resume Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.


Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman addressed the jury about the video they will see of the fight under question outside the Dogwood Bar, which left two dead and one injured.

"Clay swings at Mr. Mosley and Mosley swings back," ADA Jan Norman said. "Clay is not going after him. You will see Paul walking toward them because Clay has been swung at. And you'll see Clay Beathard as he is standing there are clearly words being said. You will see AJ. He is a thin person, and it's imposing in any way. You can see clearly that Mr. Mosley gets up and take a stance where he readying himself. You will see him as he aims at Clay Beathard and stabs him in the chest — directly in the chest. Mr. Mosley knows he was armed with a knife, and Clay Beathard didn't know. You will see him collapse on the sidewalk and fall to the ground."

Norman said at the moment Beathard was stabbed that Trapeni walked away because he was stabbed in the middle of his chest and left side.

"You can see the blood before he walks across the street," Norman said. "You'll see him bend over and collapse on the sidewalk. You will see Mosley calmly walk away after fixing his air, leaving Clay and Paul to bleed to death on the sidewalk — knowing what he has done to them. He will calmly walk away."

Norman said the two bled to death, and the jury will hear from at least eight witnesses who saw the fight.

"This was supposed to be a fistfight," Norman said. "It was pushing. It was shoving. There was nothing about this that this one person knew. Mosley was armed with a knife and he stabbed them in the heart, in the chest. You're going to hear from a lot of witnesses and see video. He had that moment where he steadied himself and lunged when he stabbed him. You'll see that moment where he stabbed Paul knowing that he has just stabbed Clay in the chest. You'll see him lunge after him not once, but twice. AJ will tell you about being stabbed in the eye, and he hardly has any vision in that eye."

Defense attorney Ken Quillen said Mosley was baited into hitting on one of the group's friends.

He said a guy with a white button downed shirt and comes out with Mosley in a chokehold.

"The whole crowd goes to the left, which is crazy," Quillen said. "It's hard to believe."

Quillen went through the time stamps of the video — not yet displayed to the jury.

"This is the wee hours of a Saturday morning. The news reports two people are deceased. Mosley hires an attorney. Christmas Day — the police sends a SWAT team to get Mosley. The rest of the group was interviewed in the BGA library."

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.

Person Sought for Questioning.png
Metro police released this surveillance photo from The Dogwood Bar.

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.

Michael D. Mosley

December 23, 2019
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Mosley to its Most Wanted list.

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.

Read the full letter here.

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.

The Victims

Clayton Beathard and Paul Trapeni III (pictured left to right)

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.