Family seeks answers in Alaska inmate’s death

  • By Rachel D'oro
  • Monday, April 14, 2014 11:37pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — A California parolee who recently was found dead in his Alaska jail cell continued to be held in custody even though his case had been dismissed more than a week earlier.

The Alaska fugitive case against Davon Mosley of Bakersfield, Calif., was dropped March 27 after California authorities declined extradition even though a regional parole administrator said his office there recommended his return to that state.

Mosley, 20, died April 4. He was arrested in Anchorage March 16 on a fugitive warrant from California.

Alaska Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kaci Schroeder declined to comment, saying the death and custody issue are under investigation.

“We understand the desire for answers, however, until all of the investigations are complete we can’t say much,” Schroeder said in an email Monday.

Alaska State Troopers said public safety officials were notified in writing by the California Department of Corrections that the state did not want to seek extradition. Alaska officials in turn notified prosecutors, who sent copies of the case dismissal to state authorities, including corrections officials.

Mosley’s fiancee, Vernesia Gordon, said officials kept her from visiting Mosley after March 23, telling her he could not have visitors when she showed up at the correctional facility. Mosley, who was schizophrenic and bipolar, told her during earlier visits that he wasn’t allowed to take his medications for those conditions, according to Gordon, who is pregnant with her third child with Mosley. The couple had planned to marry in May.

Gordon and other family members have hired a lawyer to investigate.

“I really can’t just let this go without knowing what happened, without getting justice,” Gordon said. “I have to answer to my kids in the long run.”

Mosley previously served 14 months in California after attacking two of Gordon’s brothers with a machete when he quit taking his medications, she said.

Other than his mental illnesses, he was healthy, and the family can’t understand how he could die in the jail, Gordon said.

Schroeder said an official autopsy report by the medical examiner’s office is likely a few weeks from completion, so the Alaska Department of Corrections cannot comment on the cause of death. According to Gordon, the medical examiner’s office said preliminary findings show the death was due to natural causes involving some type of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Mosley’s family ordered a second, independent autopsy, which was performed last week, according to Gordon.

Mosley’s arrest was prompted by his father in Bakersfield who called Alaska authorities to make a welfare check on Mosley’s young children in Anchorage after getting into a heated argument over the phone with his son. Mosley, Gordon and their two young sons were staying on an extended visit in Anchorage, where Gordon’s mother lives.

Mosley also had encountered authorities in February, Gordon said. He had been off his medication for months and cycled into a rage that prompted Gordon’s mother to call police, Gordon said.

That time, even though Mosley told police about the California warrant, he was taken to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, where he resumed his medications, Gordon said.

He was held on a temporary basis and released. He was then arrested on the fugitive warrant weeks later.

Gordon learned about the case dismissal April 1 and was told by a court official that the paperwork could take a while, but that Mosley’s release should come no later than April 3. Instead, he remained in custody and died the following day.

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