Frank Moseley, a 34-year-old Iraq War veteran and a resident of Anaheim, was convicted this week of voluntary manslaughter after jurors rejected a murder charge.
Moseley fatally stabbed his girlfriend in 2017, Janessa Smith, 25, with a chef’s knife in the living room of an Anaheim apartment after she told him she was having an affair and may have been impregnated by her other lover.
Moseley was 27 at the time of the killing. He said that he “lost it” after hearing about the affair and “saw red” before picking up the knife and stabbing Smith more than a dozen times. He also admitted to setting small fires in the apartment to kill himself through smoke inhalation, but later told investigators that he changed his mind after hearing the cries of the couple’s toddler.
Moseley then got in his car, with his toddler and drove toward the Anaheim Police Department. On the way however he spotted a police officer in a patrol car. Moseley crossed over the median, cut the patrol car off and jumped from his vehicle while holding his child. Moseley then begged the officer to shoot him, which was captured on the officer’s body-worn camera footage. That video footage also showed the toddler crouched at Moseley’s feet.
The police officer told Moseley that he would not shoot him in front of his child. Moseley sobbed and screamed as he was handcuffed. He then told the officer “I can’t believe what I just did!” He added that “I lost it, I couldn’t keep control.”
Moseley then provided the police officers with the address of his Anaheim apartment.
As it turned out Smith was not pregnant, as revealed during her autopsy. She had broken up with Moseley months earlier, but they reconciled, and then agreed to marry. Smith however was having second thoughts, according to the police department.
The OCDA pursued manslaughter charges against Moseley rather than first-degree murder, which requires premeditation as the slaying occurred in the heat of passion.
David Hammond, an O.C. Public Defender who served as Moseley’s defense attorney, told the O.C. Superior Court jurors that Moseley suffered from PTSD, which stemmed from a traumatic childhood and a tour in Iraq where Moseley, a Navy medic, was attached to a Marine unit that went on 250-plus patrols.
Hammond also alleged that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors determined that Moseley suffered from combat-related dreams and daily panic attacks triggered by stress.
Moseley was going to nursing school when he killed Smith.
Moseley will be sentenced on May 12.