NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After three days of testimony from more than 20 witnesses, the jury delivered guilty a verdict in the trial for Michael Mosley — a man accused of killing two and injuring another.
The jury found him guilty of two counts of criminal homicide, one count of attempted criminal homicide and one count of assault after about one hour of deliberating.
Mosley is currently serving a 12-year sentence for an unrelated assault. Sentencing for this case has been scheduled for May 26. He's facing life in prison.
On Thursday, the state called two final witnesses before resting its case. The defense chose not to call any witnesses, and Mosley waived his right to testify. Closing arguments were delivered shortly after and concluded just after 12 p.m.
Mosley was on trial for killing Paul Trapeni III and Clay Beathard, and injuring AJ Bethurum in a fight outside the Dogwood Bar in Midtown just days before Christmas 2019. The medical examiner explained during Wednesday's proceedings that Trapeni and Beathard were both stabbed in the heart. Mosley's attorney has argued his client was acting in self-defense.
The victims were college students home on winter break who met up with a group of former Battle Ground Academy classmates to catch up.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution brought in witnesses who saw the fight happen, including David Bates, who called 911. Twelve different videos of the fight were shown to the jury. Those who testified so far said they never saw a weapon. Mosley is accused of using a knife to stab Trapeni, Beathard and Bethurum.
During the first day of the trial, the prosecution's first witness said Mosley approached her and made unwanted advances while she and a friend were on the dance floor.
When the group left — including Mosley — the fight started after the bar ushered out customers to close.
Before the jury was brought into the courtroom on Thursday morning, the prosecution and defense discussed with Judge Dalton testimony from Jaycie Harper. On Wednesday, Harper testified that she thought Sergio Alvarado met up with Mosley to sell drugs the night of the fight. Alvarado is currently facing unrelated federal charges in connection to guns and MS-13.
Investigator Randy Martin was brought in to testify. He said Alvarado is on federal probation. Alvarado was in court on Monday, but hasn't returned since. Prosecutors said they planned to call him as a witness. Metro police will be searching for him on Thursday.
After the jury was brought in, Bethurum was called to testify. He took the stand during a preliminary hearing in 2020 and was seen wearing an eye patch. Now, he no longer wears one.
Bethurum said he no longer has any vision out of his left eye despite multiple surgeries. He testified that he's experienced a lot of physical and emotional pain following the fight outside the Dogwood Bar.
He served as the state's final witness.
Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman began the state's closing arguments by telling the jury Mosley was the only person involved in the fight who was aware there was a knife. She said all of the Battle Ground Academy graduates who testified said they did not see a knife or see the stabbing. She told the jury they heard from friends of the victims and the defendant who all said they did not feel their lives were in danger.“There’s one person that knew what happened and that person is Michael Mosley," norman said. "Michael Mosley knew he had that knife the entire time.”
Norman showed the jury video of the fight, stating Mosley did not stay to see if the victims were OK.
"Mosley fixes his hair and walked away. He was not found for four days," she said.
Friends of Trapeni and Beathard, and Mosley's sister were seen getting emotional as Norman delivered her argument.
Throughout the trial, defense attorney Ken Quillen has argued Mosley was acting in self-defense. He described to the jury the sidewalk were part of the fight took place, arguing his client was in a position that locked him in.
In his closing arguments, Quillen described some of the BGA graduates who were involved in the fight as "blackout drunk." He added that the group of friends were chasing Mosley and Alvarado.
He showed the jury videos of the fight in slow motion, arguing that they were the aggressors — not Mosley.
"Mr. Mosley had a right to be on that public street," Quillen said, before making reference to self-defense law. In this law, one of the things to consider is previous threats.
"I would suggest that when a man angry walks toward you and points at you, that is a threat. If a man is shaking his finger at you, that is a threat. If a man has held you in a headlock, that is a threat," he said.
Quillen then reiterated his argument that Mosley was much smaller in weight and height to the other men involved in the fight. He encouraged the jury to further examine surveillance video of the fight, which he argues proves his client was punched by the other group of men.
In his final statement, Quillen asked the jury to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which states passion could led to someone being violent.
"If someone hits you while you're not looking, that would arouse a great deal of passion," he said.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter delivered the state’s rebuttal.
She argued Mosley "robbed all of us" of the lives of Trapeni and Beathard.
Hunter read to the jury the law surrounding self-defense claims. Hunter said this argument does not apply in the case and she questioned why the defense, in her view, did not mention anything about this law in their closing argument.
"Self-defense is only available when and to the degree the defendant reasonably believed the force was immediately necessary to protect against the alleged victim's use of unlawful force," she explained to the jury.
Hunter alleged the only thing Samuel Folks did to Mosley was hurt his pride. Mosley is facing an assault charge for allegedly punching Folks, who was among the BGA graduates out that night.
"I think back to something my mom told me when I was growing up: 'Sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me.' The only thing that had been done to Michael Mosley at that time was words were said to him. Self-defense does not apply," she said.
In relation to the law of self-defense that states the defendant had a right to be in a certain place, she argued it was clear Mosley was at the Dogwood Bar that night to sell drugs with Alvarado.
"It was very clear that Michael Mosley was there that night so that he could help him sell drugs," she said.
Hunter argued that the group did not join together to attack Mosley.
"The defendant began this fight. He chose everything about it," she said. "There’s no way that any person, no matter how tall or short you are, would have any reasonable belief that this group of people was out to get him."
She also asked the jury not to consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. Hunter argued that charge doesn't apply to this case and "is not appropriate."
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.