Store owner convicted of murder
By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 5, 2011 1:50 AM
Taking less than an hour to deliberate, a Wayne County jury found Mohssen Ali Almogaded guilty of second-degree murder Friday in connection with the June 2009 stabbing death of Terry Lavone Singleton.
Almogaded, 43, stabbed Single-ton in the back during an altercation outside Bob's Market No. 2. Almogaded owned the South Slocumb Street business and had a history of trouble with the victim.
Judge Arnold Jones sentenced Almogaded to a sentence of 13 years to 16 years and 6 months in prison.
Almogaded, a native of Yemen who has been in the U.S. for about 21 years, could have faced a more serious charge of first-degree murder or a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Second-degree murder, according to legal definitions, is a non-premeditated killing resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility. It does not carry as severe a sentence as a first-degree murder charge, which generally is marked by premeditation along with other factors.
After the trial, Singleton's family was visibly upset that Almogaded did not receive a more severe sentence for killing the 31-year-old.
"That is not enough time," said Travis Darden, Singleton's cousin, who attended the trial. "(Almoga-ded) did that in cold blood."
Geoff Hulse, Almogaded's defense attorney, argued that his client acted in self-defense against a man who had previously threatened him on numerous occasions, leading him to take a warrant out against Singleton, who lived down the street from the market, only four days before the murder.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge argued that Almogaded had acted overly aggressively toward Singleton, who was trespassing on the store owner's property the day of the altercation that led to Almogaded stabbing him to death.
Delbridge claimed the bold act of Singleton arriving at his market just days after Almogaded went with police to Singleton's home to secure the warrant to deny him access to the property, was "the straw that broke the camel's back" sending him into a murderous fit.
During the trial, Delbridge argued that the physical dispute between the 5-foot 4-inch tall Almogaded and the 6-foot 1-inch Singleton left Almogaded with no signs he had been physically harmed before he stabbed Singleton.
Hulse told jurors that Almogaded was a law-abiding citizen who was in pursuit of the American dream and that he had only been defending himself from what he considered deadly force.
Delbridge said the circumstances showed Almogaded had no provocation to attack Singleton.
"He doesn't have clean hands. He killed a man, and he should not have."