Man guilty in 2012 murder

PICKENS — The man accused of killing a Clemson University student in 2012 was found guilty of the crime by a

Photo courtesy Rex Brown/The Journal Lester Devaria Mosley Jr. was found guilty in the 2012 murder of a Clemson University student last week.

Photo courtesy Rex Brown/The Journal
Lester Devaria Mosley Jr. was found guilty in the 2012 murder of a Clemson University student last week.

Pickens County jury last week.

Lester Devaria Mosley Jr. was found guilty of murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of attempted armed robbery and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime on Wednesday to wrap up a three-day trial at the Pickens County Courthouse.

Mosley was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the murder charge, an additional 50 years for the burglary charge, 20 years for each of the attempted armed robbery charges and five years for the weapon charge. The sentences will run concurrently. Mosley will also receive credit for the 22 months he spent in jail awaiting trial.

Jurors took about 90 minutes to decide Mosley was the triggerman in the killing of Steven Gregory Grich during a home invasion at the Chimney Ridge Apartments in Central on Dec. 8, 2012.

Three other men who pleaded guilty to charges related to the incident — Kadeem Ramsey and brothers Jaron and Jordan Dalton — testified on Tuesday that Mosley had fired the weapon that killed Grich.

The three told jurors they had traveled to the apartments to find and steal marijuana.

Ramsey said one of the brothers texted him to ask about getting some marijuana.

“I texted him back and told him ‘yeah,’ but that person I knew didn’t have none,” Ramsey said. “I told him I knew somebody who probably would — Devaria Mosley.”

The Daltons drove to pick Ramsey up, then picked up Mosley.

After visiting a home on Vista Drive and learning there were no drugs available there, Mosley told the group there were three to four pounds of marijuana at an apartment at Chimney Ridge, Jaron Dalton said.

Jaron said the four had planned the situation ahead of time.

“We were going to go in, get everybody down, try to find the weed and get out,” he said.

After arriving at Chimney Ridge, Ramsey said the four decided to enter the apartment through the rear door by walking down a back alley. Ramsey said the group had two guns, one of which Mosley carried.

Jordan Dalton told jurors when the four entered the apartment, Mosley was telling everyone inside to lay down while he went to the front door to make sure it was locked. Jordan, along with Ramsey, went upstairs to see if anyone else was there.

Jaron said Mosley pistol-whipped several of the apartment’s occupants who had been ordered to get down on the floor. Grich received several blows to the head from the butt of the pistol and, as he came up from the floor, Jaron said, the gun went off.

While walking back down the stairs, Jordan said he saw Mosley preparing to hit Grich “one more time” when “the gun went off.”

“What did you do then?” 13th Circuit solicitor Walt Wilkins asked Jordan.

“We ran,” he replied.

“We all stood there, kind of in shock that the weapon fired, and my brother said ‘run’ and we ran out the back door, up the back alley to my car,” Jaron said. “We got in and went back to my apartment at a high rate of speed.”

Jaron said the group got away with between one and two grams of drugs from the apartment.

In addition to the other suspects, friends and roommates of Grich testified Tuesday.

Kevin Keck, who was visiting friends, identified Mosley as the shorter of the two black men involved in the incident, saying he continually asked “Where’s the dope at?” and pistol-whipped he and his friends — especially Grich, who was struck repeatedly.

“It felt like 20 minutes but was probably just a few seconds,” Keck said.

When the gun went off, Keck said he thought the bullet had hit the ceiling. However, he soon saw Grich lying on the ground.

“We asked him if he was OK, and with a calm look on his face, he said ‘no,’” Keck said.

Daniel Pearson, a roommate of Grich’s, said he could tell Grich was in trouble, adding, “He was staring beyond me.” Grich passed away soon thereafter.

Rob McKinley said he was studying for final exams in a room next door when he and two other friends “heard a commotion” from the next room.

“I heard ‘where’s the dope?’ and tables getting turned over,” McKinley said.

McKinley said he retrieved close to two pounds of marijuana and put it in his backpack and, along with his friends, escaped and hid the marijuana in the woods.

Scott Robinson, Mosley’s defense attorney, spent a large part of the day Tuesday arguing that witnesses couldn’t clearly identify his client since he was wearing a mask and disputed the three suspects’ claims that Mosley pulled the trigger by pointing out past statements that were issued.

On the final day of testimony Wednesday, Mosley testified that he was not involved in the robbery and killing.

Mosley told jurors he and his then-girlfriend Erica Gibson and her brother, Trey, traveled from Toccoa, Ga., where Erica lived, to Clemson that afternoon. After visiting Creekwood Apartments and a home on Vista Drive, he traveled to see a friend named Cosha Benson who was braiding the hair of Mosley’s brother, William Wingard, when Mosley arrived around 8 p.m., he said.

From there, Mosley said he attended a birthday party for someone he “grew up with” at Croc’s on Keith Street “a little before or after 9 (p.m.).”

“Afterward, we went straight back to Cosha’s,” Mosley said.

Mosley, despite being lifelong friends with Ramsey, said Ramsey was “telling a story” when he named Mosley as one of the four assailants. While Mosley admitted he had a telephone conversation with Ramsey on the day of the incident, he added that he told Ramsey where to go to find marijuana at Chimney Ridge.

Benson testified Mosley was at her house until between 8:30-9 p.m. the evening of the killing and that she also saw him at Croc’s.

“Did you see him at any point leave Croc’s?” Wilkins asked.

“No, not till it was over,” Benson replied.

Wilkins said he couldn’t understand why Benson waited until testifying Wednesday to say Mosley had an alibi.

“You knew Devaria had been incarcerated for 22 months and you’re saying he was with you at the time of Steve Grich’s murder?” he said. “You’ve known this for 22 months and, if this testimony is true, an innocent man has been locked up for 22 months — wrongfully locked up. You wait 22 months to tell anyone — was your testimony not important 22 months ago? Did you not care enough to tell law enforcement who was with (you)?”

Benson then answered a question posed by Wilkins regarding her testimony about Mosley. He said Wednesday marked the first time she had told her story of what happened.

“That’s correct,” Benson said.

Greg Oliver of The Journal contributed to this story.