A shooting spree defendant pleaded not guilty on Monday to murdering a 9-year-old girl and a news reporter and trying to kill others including the child’s mother and the reporter’s photojournalist colleague.
Keith Melvin Moses, 19, missed his first appearance hearing on Feb. 28, with the defense citing “behavior.” He had already missed a previous court appearance on the original murder charge because of “mental health.”
Monday’s not guilty plea, made through Moses’ attorney, is part of the newer charges filed against him for a tragic shooting spree on Feb. 22 in Orange County, Florida. According to court documents, the first victim, Nathacha Augustin, 38, was riding around with an unidentified man that morning when the man, who knew Moses, saw him walking around and he “seemed down.” They offered him a ride.
The man, who had been driving, told investigators that Moses got in the back of the vehicle. According to documents, the driver did not hear Moses and Augustin argue, and they did not know one another. But after 30 seconds, the driver heard a “bang” and saw blood on the woman’s face, he told authorities.
He pulled over and Moses allegedly fled the scene. Investigators arrived to find Augustin on her stomach outside the white Hyundai’s passenger side. She had been shot on the left side of her chin and was pronounced dead.
Investigators determined Moses to be their suspect, but had not yet apprehended him. Hours after the shooting, police say Moses returned to the scene and found Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, 24, and photojournalist Jesse Walden at the location, where they were reporting on the shooting of Augustin earlier in the day.
Authorities claim Moses shot them both — Lyons was found in the front passenger seat of a white Ford Escape, and Walden had been by the vehicle’s trunk. Lyons was pronounced dead while Walden was critically injured but survived the attack.
Investigators said that the round that struck Lyons entered his left arm, exited the limb to enter his chest, and exited his chest to lodge in his right arm. Investigators believe the gunshot wounds are consistent with Moses standing outside the driver’s side and firing into the vehicle, authorities said.
Around the same time, Moses entered the home of T’Yonna Major, 9, deputies said, where he allegedly shot the child twice in her torso. Her mother had been napping at the time.
The mother said she “woke up to T’Yonna Major yelling, ‘HE SHOT ME!’ as she ran into her room and jumped into her bed,” investigators wrote.
As the mother woke up, she heard two gunshots and felt like she was being shot in the arm. She grabbed her daughter, and they barricaded themselves in the master bathroom until law enforcement arrived, according to the affidavit.
“As she spoke to T’Yonna Major, she told her that the suspect entered the residence through the sliding glass door, and she described the suspect as having dreadlocks,” deputies said. The mother “attempted to describe the suspect and said all she could see was short dreads and further described the suspect as tall and slim built.”
The mother said she typically locked all her doors but occasionally left the rear sliding glass door unlocked to let their dog out, investigators said.
Moses was first charged in just Augustin’s death for first-degree murder with a firearm, but charges followed shortly after for two more counts of first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, and one count of armed burglary of a dwelling with a firearm.
He previously pleaded not guilty through an attorney to the original murder charge.
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