FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WAAY) - It took a Lincoln County jury an hour and a half to find Zakkawanda Moss guilty of six counts of first degree murder Friday afternoon.
The jury of three men and nine women started deliberations Friday afternoon, after a lunch break.
"I'm just relieved and glad it's all over and justice was served" said Shanea Sales.
Sales is the mother of Chabreya Campbell and grandmother of Rashad 'Rico' Ragland. Sales was in court everyday listening to the testimony.
"It's hard but I know they needed us to be there we want to be there for our families and so how much we love them so for them anything"said Sales.
District Attorney Robert Carter says he is happy with the verdict
"We've done it exactly the way we needed to do it and exactly as we had planned to do it" said Carter. "It's that type of teamwork with the folks in Alabama and Tennessee and a game plan to do it right that results in the verdict we got here today."
During closing arguments in the morning, defense attorney Herschel Koger told the jury the theory of why the murders were committed was full of holes. But prosecutors said they had proven that Moss and Henry Burrell committed the murders while looking for money, drugs and gun.
Moss was found guilty of killing Chabreya Campbell, Amber McCaulley, Jessica Brown, Rashad 'Rico' Ragland, Campbell's unborn baby girl, and Warren Crutcher. The bodies were found at several different locations on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, 2012.
Moss's sentencing hearing will be January 21, 2014. Carter said the judge will decide if Moss's life sentence for each count will run concurrent or consecutive. The state will be asking for 6 consecutive life sentences.
During opening statements Lincoln County District Attorney Robert Carter told the jury he believed the victims were tortured and eventually murdered by the defendant as he was attempting to rob Warren Crutcher, another one of the murder victims.
During the trial 16 person jury heard from a man who says he was heavily involved in a drug business with Warren Crutcher. The man, who cannot be identified, says he and Crutcher, along with a third man Henry Burrell, sold marijuana, cocaine, crack, and pill out of the homes that were ultimately the scenes of the murders.
Amber McCaulley, Chabreya Campbell and 16 month old Rico Ragland were found dead in a home on Highway 231 near the Tennessee-Alabama state line on Sunday October 22, 2012. According to the State, Crutcher and McCaulley picked up the defendant and drove him to the home the night before the bodies were found. The State alleges that Moss knew the home was a "stash house" and intended to rob Crutcher of its contents. It was at this time that McCaulley was shot once in the head and placed in a utility closet inside the home's garage.
Witnesses for the State also testified that Burrell intended to rob Crutcher who was also known as “Teenager.”
The DA says Moss then entered the home, with Crutcher, and proceeded to torture Campbell in an attempt to get information about the location of drugs and money he believed to be inside the home. Campbell was bound, strangled, and placed in a bathtub. Campbell's son, Rico Ragland, died of blunt force trauma. District Attorney Carter says the baby simply "in the way."
The State claims that Moss then traveled the short distance to the home of Jessica Brown, where according to witness testimony Crutcher was currently living, and tortured and strangled her. Brown's body was also found in her bathtub. Brown's 7 week-old baby was found alive, lying on a towel, behind the door of another bathroom.
Finally, the DA says, Crutcher was shot three times in the back of the head and dumped in a field off B H Reeves Road Madison County, near the Alabama/Tennessee state line.
The man who testified on Wednesday says that Jessica Brown and Warren Crutcher were a couple as far as he knew and that Crutcher was living in the home on Foxwood Drive where Brown's body was found. The witness also testified that he knew guns and drugs were kept in the house at different times.
The witness also testified that Crutcher had previously dated Chabreya Campbell and was the father to one of her children.
According to the man's testimony he, Crutcher, and Henry Burrell were a "crew" and Crutcher was in charge. He says that he and Crutcher were intending to leave the state and eventually start a legitimate business before the murders took place.
Earlier in the week Alex Brodhag, an Agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, took the stand. Brodhag works in the forensic evidence division and examined several of the weapons police believe were used in the crimes. Brodhag testified that they recovered a Luger magazine and a Luger pistol from the house at Huntsville Highway. Also recovered and examined by the agent, a Glock, 2 Smith & Wessons, and 2 AK 47s. The agent also testified that the bullets removed from victim Warren Crutcher may have been fired from a gun found inside the Elantra.
Tuesday, after Judge Durard warned the audience that testimony would be graphic, medical examiner Dr. Feng Li took the stand. Dr. Li conducted autopsies on all of the victims except for Warren Crutcher because his body was found in Alabama. Li says that his examination ultimately revealed that Chabreya Campbell and Jessica Brown both died from strangulation. Both were found, with their hands tied behind their backs, in the bathtubs at their respective homes. Amber McCaulley died from a single close-range gunshot wound to the head.
Li also testified about the death of Campbell's son, 16 month old Rashad ‘Rico’ Ragland. He said the baby appeared to have suffered several blows to the head. He further said that the marks were consistent with a “stomping.” The baby’s skull was fractured in several places and he had several contusions and abrasions on his face, head, and upper arm on the right side.
Li also confirmed the State’s allegation that Chabreya Campbell was 30 weeks pregnant and the baby girl died as a result of her death. He said that the baby was viable, meaning she could have lived if born at that time, and she was not dead before her mother was killed.
Monday investigators from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and an Agent from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took the stand. Investigator Brent Patterson testified that responded to the crime scene off BH Reeves Road in Madison County where the body of Warren Crutcher was found. The State alleges that Crutcher was killed in Tennessee and his body was dumped at the location and Patterson's testimony seems to back up that claim. Crutcher was shot 3 times in the head but Patterson says there was very little blood around the body.
"With my history-- there would have been an enormous amount of blood," said Patterson. He also testified that there was no mud on the victim’s shoes deapite the muddy terrain.
The detective initially interviewed the defendant Zakkawanda Moss on October 23rd at his home. Moss was later arrested for violation of his probation. It was at that time that Moss asked to speak to Patterson. The interview took place on October 26th and lasted about 3 hours.
"My interpretation is that he was contacting me to let me know what the truth was, “said Patterson of the interview.
During the interview Moss pointed the finger at an acquaintance Henry Burrell saying that Burrell had asked for new clothes the night of the murder. Moss also claimed that Burrell had asked him to hold a gun for him, but say she refused. Despite Moss’ claims, Patterson testified that after the interview he believed Moss was definitely involved in the murders.
"He was definitely all in it,” said Patterson.
During a short break Judge Durard warned everyone in the courtroom that the next testimony would be quite graphic and asked that there be no outbursts from friends and family members. After several people left the courtroom Agent Wesson with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took the stand. Wesson testified for most of the afternoon Monday about what he found at the crime scenes.
Wesson says that Chabreya Campbell was found facedown in her bathtub with her hands tied behind her back with blue shoestrings. The cord from a cell phone charger was wrapped around her neck. Jessica Brown was discovered at her home on Foxwood Drive in a similar condition. Wesson also testified about how he found 16 month old Rico Ragland.
"Little Rico, baby Rico was lying on his back with blood strewn away from his head,” said Wesson.
The jury also saw graphic photos from the crime scenes although Judge Durard ruled that not all could be admitted into evidence. The defense had no questions for Wesson.
Last week the jury heard from a witness whose testimony centered on video surveillance recorded at the Walmart the night of the murders. The video shows a man entering the store and attempting to use a card at an ATM, and then leaving the store. During opening statements DA Carter alleged that the man on the video is the defendant and that he is attempting to use a card belonging to one of the victims. Another witness who works at a Wavaho gas station in Huntsville testified about video surveillance footage of a similar nature.
Lincoln County Investigator Douglas Boeringer took the stand Thursday. He responded to the home on Foxwood Drive where the body of Jessica Brown was found and testified about what he saw at the crime scene.
Boeringer says he identified a body in the hallway bathroom and was made aware that there was an infant behind a door, in another bathroom located off the master bedroom. The day after the bodies were found Boeringer says he interviewed a person associated with the case that provided him with car seat covers and floor mats with blood on them as well as clothing allegedly belonging to another defendant in the case, Henry Burrell. This witness also claims to have driven the two accused men, Moss and Burrell, back from Huntsville to Tennessee the night of the murders. The witness confirmed, according to Boeringer, that they did stop at Walmart and a Wavaho gas station on the way out of Alabama.
Judge Forest Durard ruled that the jury, comprised of 11 women and 5 men, will be sequestered for the duration of the trial. Henry Burrell will be tried separately. That trial is expected to take place in February, 2014.