On Tuesday, Tununak resident Edward Moses was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the murder of his two-year-old son.
“I’ve prepared for a lot of sentencing hearings,” District Attorney Steve Wallace told the court, but in his 35 years in law enforcement he said that, “I have not had a case with terrible facts like this.”
Four years ago, Edward Moses walked into his ex-girlfriend’s home with a shotgun. They had recently broken up and their son, Kyle, lived with her. Moses, age 28, threatened to kill Kyle if the boy’s mother didn’t speak to him. Then he shot his son in the head.
According to the Trooper’s affidavit, Moses later told law enforcement that Kyle’s mother was "with another man,” and that he “didn’t think she should be burdened with their son.” Among other charges, he pled guilty to murder in the second degree earlier this year.
At his sentencing hearing, Moses sat handcuffed with his eyes closed. Kyle’s mother watched him quietly from the courtroom’s gallery. She attended the hearing with a small, tearful crowd that included her sister. Moses’ family was there, too, but sat alone.
As the hearing progressed, Defense Attorney David Case argued that Moses deserved a chance to rehabilitate himself. District Attorney Steve Wallace expressed some doubt that Moses could be rehabilitated.
Kyle’s mother decided not to speak in court, but her sister did. She claimed that Moses hasn’t taken responsibility for what he’s done. The sister alluded to moments when Moses claimed that Kyle’s mother is the one to blame for the boy’s death, and that he wouldn’t have shot the child if she hadn’t driven him to it.
The sister also said that Kyle’s mother and her family have been pressured to keep quiet about the murder. “Sometimes we'll try to get heard and we’ll get told to stop, or that we shouldn’t say anything,” she said. “Why do we get told to stop saying anything when we try to tell people about how we felt?”
In his own statement to the court, Moses said that there were things he wished he could have done better. He then asked to be forgiven and mostly talked about himself. “The Bible says you should forgive others if they ask,” he said.
After considering the case privately, Judge Nathaniel Peters accepted the plea that Defense Attorney Case and DA Wallace had agreed upon and sentenced Moses to 65-years in prison. He said that he didn’t do it lightly, as Moses is a young man, but that he was disturbed by how premeditated the murder was.
Kyle’s mother has another son now, a curious one-year-old from a new relationship. The baby sat on her lap during the sentencing hearing, fidgeting with the credit cards in her wallet. When the hearing was over, she hoisted her baby onto her hip and left the room. She didn’t stay to watch as the bailiffs took Moses away.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Judge Nathaniel Peters sentenced Edward Moses to 65 years in prison. In fact, Judge Peters accepted a plea that Defense Attorney David Case and District Attorney Steve Wallace had already agreed upon. We regret the error.