A 33-year-old Iraq War veteran fatally stabbed his fiance in Anaheim when she told him she was having an affair, a prosecutor told jurors Monday.
Frank Moseley is charged with murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.
Moseley is accused of killing 25-year-old Janessa Smith on Jan. 19, 2017.
Jurors will be asked to consider, “Was that murder or manslaughter,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Alex said. “It is not going to be a dispute who did it. He did it.”
Moseley stabbed Smith about 14 times with a “chef’s knife” in the living room of Smith’s two-bedroom apartment at 120 E. Wilken Way, near Orangewood Avenue, Alex said.
Moseley “had a dating relationship going back years,” Alex said.
The two broke up, but then around the holidays they reconciled and she accepted his marriage proposal, Alex said.
But “almost as quickly” as they reconciled, “The victim began to have second thoughts,” Alex said.
The victim was stabbed to death late that morning or in the early afternoon, Alex said.
After fatally stabbing Smith, Moseley filled up the bath tub and submerged smoke detectors in the water before setting fires in the apartment as part of his “first suicide attempt,” Alex said.
Cries from the couple’s toddler daughter, however, roused Moseley as he lay on the couch attempting to die through smoke inhalation, Alex said.
Moseley took the child into his car and headed toward the Anaheim Police Department station, Alex said. On the way he saw an officer, so he cut off the squad car, forcing it to stop and then he got out and “announces, `I killed my wife,’ ” Alex said.
Moseley told the officer that Smith told him she was impregnated by another man, so he killed her, Alex said.
“He begs the officer, `Just kill me, shoot me,’ ” Alex said.
The officer called for backup and other officers were able to take the toddler to safety and bring Moseley into the police station for questioning, Alex said.
Smith’s sister, meanwhile, found the body and screamed, drawing the attention of the apartment manager who dialed 911, Alex said.
Moseley “embellished” his military background, telling detectives he did two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, Alex said. The truth was he did one tour of duty as a Navy medic patrolling with Marines, Alex said.
Moseley also said he grew up in a violent South Shore Chicago neighborhood nicknamed Terror Town when he actually was from south suburban Chicago Heights about 20 miles away, Alex said.
Smith had another boyfriend she was seeing, but there was no indication in the autopsy that she was pregnant, Alex said.
Moseley had “suspicions” of an affair for some time, but he “insists” she did not confirm it until seconds before he killed her, Alex said.
Moseley had cut marks on his arm that he said were self-inflicted and done before the killing, Alex said. The knife “slipped’ as he was killing Smith so he also had fresh cuts, the prosecutor alleged.
Moseley told an administrator in a nursing program he was in six days before the killing that the daughter he had with Smith was not his, Alex said.
“I accuse the defendant of murder, but I do not accuse the defendant of being a villain,” Alex said. “He served our country honorably. And if you believe the VA he suffers from an anxiety disorder and if you believe the defense’s expert he has (post-traumatic stress disorder).”
Moseley had been “off his meds for about six months” before the killing, Alex said.
Moseley’s attorney is scheduled to make an opening statement Tuesday morning.