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Providence man sentenced to life in prison for 2014 murder

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court to serve consecutive life sentences in prison for the 2014 murder of Yusef A'Vant in East Providence.

Thomas Mosely (age 39) was found guilty by a Providence County Superior Court jury on February 28, 2020 following a 12-day trial, of one count of second-degree murder and one count of discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, resulting in death.

Mosely was initially tried in 2019 on murder and related charges stemming from the 2014 shooting death of A'Vant. The court declared a mistrial on the murder charge, but a jury found Mosely guilty of one count of possessing a firearm without a license, one count of discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, and three counts of obstruction of the judicial system.

The court subsequently granted a motion for new trial on the discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence count, while denying the motion on all other counts, leading to Mosley's February 2020 guilty verdict for second-degree murder.

At a hearing Wednesday before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause, the court sentenced Mosely to consecutive life sentences. The court also sentenced Mosley to an additional 5-year consecutive sentence for convictions for obstruction of the judicial system. After declaring Mosley a habitual criminal, the court imposed an additional consecutive 10 years to serve that is not eligible for parole.

"There is a face and a name associated with every act of senseless gun violence in our communities," said Attorney General Neronha. "Yusef A'Vant's family and loved ones know this all too well. While today's verdict will not bring Yusef back or take away his family's pain and suffering, the defendant has been held accountable for his reprehensible conduct. I commend the work of the East Providence Police and the entire investigative and prosecution team for their work on a complicated case with many moving parts."

During trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that during the afternoon on April 13, 2014, Mosley shot and killed Yusef A'Vant in an East Providence barber shop where the victim worked.

Following a more than two-year investigation, members of the East Providence Police Department and Office of the Attorney General established that Mosley and an accomplice, Evan Watson, drove to the barber shop where A'Vant worked. Mosely then confronted A'Vant and, after a brief struggle, shot him.

According to the only witness in the barbershop, Mosley entered the business while holding a silver revolver and ordered the witness to get on the floor. Mosely confronted A'Vant and, after a brief struggle, shot him in the abdomen before fleeing from the scene.

The witness ran across the street for help and alerted police. A'Vant was rushed to the hospital by emergency rescue but succumbed to his wound and passed shortly thereafter.

Evan Watson provided the gun used in the murder and served as the getaway driver. On October 18, 2016, Watson pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder, one count of conspiracy, one count of possession of a firearm without a license, and discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence resulting in death. Watson awaits sentencing.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Erickson and Special Assistant Attorney General Robert E. Johnson IV of the Office of the Attorney General and the East Providence Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case, with assistance from the Providence Police Department and the Rhode Island State Police.

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