The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday night stopped the scheduled execution of Texas death row inmate Kenneth Mosley a day before he was to receive lethal injection for the fatal shooting of a Garland police officer.
The court agreed to halt the lethal injection until it resolves an Alabama death penalty case that Mosley's attorney said could affect his case.
The Alabama case, to be heard by the high court in November, centers on whether a trial lawyer was constitutionally deficient in failing to raise objections during the punishment phase of the trial.
Mosley's attorneys have raised similar claims, saying his trial attorneys were deficient for not objecting to victim impact testimony from the officer's wife and for not calling witnesses to testify about Mosley's drug and alcohol addictions.
Mosley, 51, was condemned for the February 1997 shooting death of Garland Officer Michael David Moore. Moore was responding to a 911 call about a robbery at a bank.
One of four bullets to hit Moore struck over the top edge of his protective vest. Mosley was shot in the wrist by another officer waiting outside and was arrested in the parking lot. Authorities found he was carrying a holdup note.
"As far as him committing the actual crime, it was open and shut," said Jason January, a former Dallas County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case. "Plus we had a videotape of the event taking place and eyewitnesses."
Mosley declined to speak with reporters in the weeks preceding his scheduled punishment. He had an extensive criminal record he blamed on drug addiction. Evidence at his trial showed he sexually assaulted a woman, was arrested for possession of marijuana and illegal knives, got busted for stealing merchandise from a Home Depot and then returning the items for cash refunds and for robbing a Home Depot.
At the time of the shooting, he was wanted for a fast-food restaurant robbery five days earlier in nearby Mesquite and had been fired from his last known job at a Coca-Cola bottler for testing positive for cocaine.
Jurors who decided the Flint, Mich., native should be given the death penalty also heard how he told deputies guarding him during his capital murder trial that it would "make his day to kill another cop," according to court documents.
Mosley's trial lawyers didn't deny the shooting but argued it was accidental, that as he was trying to surrender the weapon it went off five times.
Moore was 32, married and the father of three. He went to high school in Middletown, Ohio, served four years in the Marines and in 1987 joined the Garland police force. He'd won numerous awards and commendations during his 10 years on the job.
Tuesday evening, Christopher Coleman, 37, was put to death for the slayings of three people in a Houston drug deal robbery. Next week, John Balentine, 40, faces lethal injection for the slayings of three teenagers at a house in Amarillo in January 1998.