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Edmonton man who killed 7-year-old girl won’t be eligible for parole for 15 years

WARNING: This article contains disturbing content. 

A justice decided Friday that the Edmonton man found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2020 death of a seven-year-old girl won’t be eligible for parole for 15 years.

David Michael Moss faced an automatic life sentence for killing Bella Rose Desrosiers, the daughter of his high school friend Melissa Francis.

The Crown argued Moss should not be eligible for parole for between 20 and 22 years. The defence suggested 13 years of parole ineligibility.

Justice Steven Mandziuk said this is a “shocking, horrific and sickening crime.”

“A strong response is warranted,” he said, adding that is reflected in the life sentence.

When determining parole ineligibility, the court considered the gravity of the crime, mental illness, the victim or victims and the harm done to them, and intention and degree of responsibility.

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The justice said any sentence “will not be enough to give Bella’s family back what was lost.”

Moss sat in the prisoner’s box Friday in an orange jumpsuit, his head hung low.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton homicide victim Bella Rose Desrosiers’ mother shares grief'

Edmonton homicide victim Bella Rose Desrosiers’ mother shares grief

Court previously heard Melissa, a nurse, had been trying to help Moss, who she feared was suicidal.

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Before the attack, Moss said he was trying to ascend to another realm and was experiencing an “awakening.”

Moss admitted to killing Bella but said he had no memory of it.

A judge previously denied his defence of being not criminally responsible (NCR) for stabbing the child to death with scissors in her Mill Woods home in front of her mother and little sister in May 2020. Bella’s mother Melissa tried to fight him off, court heard, and told her other daughter, who was four at the time, to run and hide in the bathroom.

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Click to play video: 'Lemonade Stand to honour Bella Desrosiers'

Lemonade Stand to honour Bella Desrosiers

Justice Mandziuk said the offender killed Bella in a “very violent and relentless fashion,” taking preparatory steps.

“He made a decision to kill Bella, sought out a weapon.”

Moss committed the attack despite Bella’s mother trying to fight him off and in the presence of another little girl, Bella’s sister, who was just four at the time.

“The level of violence was horrific,” the justice said, “prolonged.”

The victim’s young age and vulnerability were aggravating factors, Mandziuk explained. “She was killed in her home where she was meant to feel safe.”

Melissa Desrosiers (right) with her four-year-old daughter Lily (left) and seven-year-old daughter Bella Rose (center). Supplied

However, when mental illness causes or contributes, moral culpability is different, the justice said, and that can be a mitigating factor in determining parole ineligibility.

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In crimes involving mental illness, excessive sentences do not serve as deterrence or denunciation in a marked way, the justice added.

The decision also considered Moss’ psychosis. However, he knew his actions were wrong, the justice said.

“I accept the offender is remorseful,” Mandziuk said.

Moss is also subject to a DNA order, a lifetime weapons ban and a non-communication order.

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