A Criminal Court jury on Saturday night found Stephen Mobley guilty on all counts, including two of criminal homicide. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Defendant Mobley’s trial for the 2016 Labor Day slayings concluded Saturday with closing statements from both sides. The sequestered jury began deliberations sometime after 3 p.m.
Defense attorney Steven Brown said the state failed to collect footage from a utility camera on Pinewood Drive, which was pointed toward the scene of the crime. He also said the state failed to test the clothing of David Reed - resident of 7458 Pinewood and cousin of Mobley. Reed could be seen in photos and video wearing the same swim trunks both before the incident and after an interview at the police station.
Defense attorney Brown also referenced a video of victim Jasmine Hines, 22, taken shortly after her father was murdered in the same manner six months before. He said in the video the victim can be heard telling an officer, "You are going to get me killed. The word on the street is that I am already snitching."
Mobley’s stay at a Motel 6 following the homicide was also discussed during closing arguments. Defense attorney Brown said the defendant went to the motel out of fear for his safety. He asked the jury to carefully review a Facebook video posted by Mobley after the murders during their deliberation.
"The word on the street is that (Mobley) was somehow involved and he tells that, he says that in the video. ... What Mr. Mobley needs is a safe manner in which to turn himself in because he knows that he is in danger, because the word on the street is that he was involved in the murder of these two individuals," said defense attorney Brown. "There’s no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Mobley evaded arrest."
Prosecutor Kevin Brown said the defense’s focus on other possible suspects - including David Reed, the unknown killer of Michael Hines, and an ex-roommate of Reed - was only an attempt to obscure the facts.
"Not one single piece of proof ... points to any of them," said prosecutor Brown. "None. It’s noise. It’s distraction."
Prosecutor Cameron Williams said the utility camera referenced by the State was a speeding camera, which could not produce a continuous video. He said Reed had no motive to kill any of the victims, since they had grown up with him and were his best friends.
Prosecutor Williams also said that while it was "uncommon and unique" for a father and daughter to be killed in the same style six months apart, it did not connect the two slayings.
"It’s awful. It’s a tragedy. And it’s despicable that this defendant would try to use that ... would take a traumatic event like that, where there is absolutely no connection, and try to use it against Jamine Hines," said prosecutor Williams. "She can’t tell you what happened. She can’t tell you that (Mobley) shot her in the head. ... It’s horrible. Despicable. You shouldn’t believe it. There’s no proof in the record that these are connected. It’s just a means by which to distract you."
The state said Mobley’s stay at the Motel 6 after the homicide gave him plenty of time to dispose of evidence, including his gun, cell phone, and clothing. They said he only turned himself in after being put on TBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list and encountering police observing him at the motel.
"Describing this event in one single word - I’ve heard it described as a tragedy. I thought about the word ‘bloodbath,’ but that’s a little too sensational," said prosecutor Williams.
The perfect word to describe the slayings, he said Mobley himself used in his Facebook video.
"When you move through a place in a violent or uncontrollable manner, that’s a rampage, and that’s the perfect description for what he did. It’s the perfect description because he did it, because he knows what it is," said prosecutor Williams. "He had two beautiful girls sleeping in his living room and they wouldn’t give him the time of day and that made him angry. ... He had had enough, so he went on his rampage."