Edmonton Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of 7-Year-Old Girl

A justice decided Friday that David Michael Moss, the Edmonton man found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2020 death of seven-year-old Bella Rose Desrosiers, will not be eligible for parole for 15 years. Moss faced an automatic life sentence for killing Bella, the daughter of his high school friend Melissa Francis.

The Crown argued for a parole ineligibility period of 20 to 22 years, while the defense suggested 13 years. Justice Steven Mandziuk ultimately decided on 15 years, stating that this was a “shocking, horrific and sickening crime.” He emphasized the need for a strong response, which is reflected in the life sentence.

The court considered various factors in determining parole ineligibility, including the gravity of the crime, mental illness, the victim or victims and the harm done to them, and intention and degree of responsibility. The justice acknowledged that no sentence could truly compensate for the loss suffered by Bella’s family.

Moss, seated in the prisoner’s box in an orange jumpsuit, kept his head low during the sentencing. The court previously heard that Melissa, a nurse, had been trying to help Moss, who she believed was suicidal. He had claimed to be experiencing an “awakening” and attempting to ascend to another realm before the attack. While Moss admitted to killing Bella, he stated he had no memory of the event.

A judge previously rejected Moss’s defense of not being criminally responsible (NCR) for stabbing Bella to death with scissors in her Mill Woods home in front of her mother and younger sister in May 2020. Melissa had bravely attempted to defend her daughter, instructing her four-year-old daughter to run and hide in the bathroom.

Justice Mandziuk described the attack as “very violent and relentless,” highlighting that Moss took preparatory steps and made a conscious decision to kill Bella, even seeking out a weapon. The attack’s brutality, its occurrence in Bella’s own home, and the presence of her vulnerable younger sister were all considered aggravating factors.

The justice recognized that mental illness can affect moral culpability and serve as a mitigating factor in determining parole eligibility. However, he concluded that Moss understood his actions were wrong, despite his psychosis. He also acknowledged Moss’s remorse.

In addition to the life sentence, Moss is subject to a DNA order, a lifetime weapons ban, and a non-communication order. This tragic case serves as a reminder of the devastating impact of violence and underscores the need for comprehensive support systems to address mental health challenges.

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