Convicted murder Moses Bess loses appeal

Dec 03, 2018 at 12:00 pm by Michelle Willard

Moses Bess

On the evening of Aug. 19, 1986, Rutherford County deputies arrived at the home of Deborah Sherfield Bess to find her laying in a pool of blood with a gun in her hand.

On the night of her death, Deborah told her husband, Jewel Moses Bess that she was leaving him because she could no longer stand for his infidelity and abuse.

The couple argued and then neighbor's hear a gunshot. They came to the Bess homestead, called Moses Mountain, to find Moses Bess on the front porch saying "she shot herself."

Investigators in 1986 couldn't find any evidence to contradict Bess's statement and Deborah's death was ruled a suicide.

But that the truth of what happened on the night of Aug. 19, 1986, wouldn't come out for 25 years.

In 2015, a sequestered jury in Rutherford County found Moses Bess guilty of the first-degree murder of Deborah Sherfield Bess.

"He has destroyed life after life after life of the people he should be most supportive of," prosecutor J. Paul Newman said at the sentencing hearing.

Judge David Bragg sentenced Bess to life imprisonment, saying Bess led an "anti-societal lifestyle" and was a threat to the community because he devoted most of his life to crime.

Bess filed an appeal for a new trial, arguing the trial court erred in allowing hearsay testimony of Deborah's plans to leave and in allowing testimony about his alleged child abuse.

On Nov. 29, the Tennesse Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and Bess remains in jail for the rest of his life.

To read more about what happened to Deborah Bess, visit Middle Tennessee Mysteries









Sections: Crime & Safety