Crime

Judge sentences man found guilty of capital murder in killing of teen in Greene County

Greene County jury finds Matthew Moberg guilty of capital murder

Greene County jury reads guilty verdict at Matthew Moberg's capital murder trial in the death of Brian Jessie Parker as Judge Dale Harkey presides.
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Greene County jury reads guilty verdict at Matthew Moberg's capital murder trial in the death of Brian Jessie Parker as Judge Dale Harkey presides.

Matthew Moberg was so angry when he found out his ex-girlfriend slept with a 16-year-old boy he called his brother that he allegedly kidnapped and killed the teen.

Moberg even sent a text to another friend who also had sex with Moberg’s ex to say that he’d “spare him,” but he wouldn’t do the same for Brian Jessie Parker, South Mississippi District Attorney Tony Lawrence said Friday.

Parker’s decomposed body was submerged under water on an old muddy logging trail off Mississippi 63 in Greene County when authorities discovered his body eight days after his mother, Tina Parker, reported him missing.

Authorities had to wait for autopsy results and further testing to confirm the body was Parker, but authorities suspected it was him almost immediately because of the black shorts, tank top and high-top tennis shoes matched the clothing Parker was wearing the day of his death.

Moberg, of Wilmer, Alabama, is on trial for capital murder in the May 23, 2017, kidnapping and killing of Parker, of Semmes, Alabama.

The trial began Monday in Leaksville.

After five days of testimony and a decision from Moberg not to testify, Judge Dale Harkey sent the jury into deliberations Friday afternoon. They quickly found Moberg guilty of capital murder.

Moberg was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The district attorney’s office did not seek the death penalty.

A video surveillance camera at a Dollar General store in Lucedale had captured footage of Parker and Moberg the day of the killing, thus confirming the two were together and what Parker was wearing.

In closing arguments, Lawrence urged jurors to use their common sense when determining a verdict in the case.

He pointed to repeated lies and attempts by Moberg to set up an alibi the day of the killing, though a GPS device on Moberg’s pickup placed him within miles of the murder scene the day of Parker’s murder.

Moberg’s ex-girlfriend was among those to testify at the trial, describing Moberg as controlling and unable to accept the breakup between the two.

In fact, just two days before Parker’s murder, according to prosecutors, Moberg’s ex told him she had sex with Parker and another of Moberg’s friends.She said all three were drinking and smoking dope at the time.

“Jessie died because the defendant was jealous,” Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Lewis said. “The defendant had a plan. On his drive from Silas, Ala., to Greene County … he knew he was going to drive Parker to Mississippi for the purpose of killing him.”

Prosecutors contend Parker left with Moberg the morning of the murder because he believed Moberg wasn’t mad at him anymore about the encounter with the girl.

That’s what Moberg had told him, but that was lie, Lawrence said, because Moberg had already planned to stop at a pawn shop to get a stun gun that he allegedly use to hit Parker in the back of the head before killing him.

At the time of the killing, Parker thought he was going to Mississippi to buy drugs with Moberg.

Brian Parker, 16, was last seen on this surveillance video with Matthew Moberg at a Dollar General in Lucedale. Parker's body was found early June 1 in Greene County.



Defense attorney Dennis DeBar argued the case was based on “circumstantial“ evidence and said there was no physical evidence to tie Moberg to the murder.

In addition, he questioned whether a jailhouse snitch was lying when he said Moberg admitted to the killing and talked about getting the stun gun.

The same question of truthfulness applied to Moberg’s ex, according to the defense, because she admitted lying to Moberg in the past about the status of their relationship that she claimed had already ended.

Criminal allegations against Moberg isn’t a first for him.

He had been out of prison in Alabama for a just a few months when he was accused in Parker’s murder.

In that case, Moberg devised a plan to kidnap his ex-girlfriend and kill her new boyfriend, but authorities intervened before a killing occurred.

Check back with SunHerald.com for updates to this story.

Margaret Baker, 228-896-0538 or @margar45
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