News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Woman gets 10-12 years in prison for DUI death in Kinnear parking lot
Jul 3, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
An Idaho woman will spend the next 10-12 years in prison for driving drunkenly and killing a St. Stephen's woman in the parking lot of a Kinnear bar on Dec. 3. Alma Mosho struck a second woman on foot and a third person who was in a vehicle.
At Tuesday's hearing in Lander 9th Judicial District Judge Marvin L. Tyler of Pinedale gave the sentence for one count of aggravated homicide by vehicle and one of driving or having control of the vehicle while under the influence. The defendant pleaded guilty to the charges on March 20 following a plea agreement.
Mosho will receive credit for 210 days time served since her arrest.
"I never meant for any of this to happen, and I'm not saying that I'm innocent, because I know I have to face the consequences for what I've done," Mosho said before Tyler announced the
sentence. "I never meant to hurt anybody."
Littleshield's sister, Cynthia, said her four nieces and nephews have to stay with three different families now.
"Our family's not the same anymore. Our family is not right anymore," she said. "That's our life sentence that we're going through."
According to court documents and deputy prosecutor Patrick LeBrun's statements, Mosho, in her 2002 silver Nissan Altima, drove over and killed Michelle Littleshield, who was 35, a little before 2 a.m. on Dec. 3 in the parking lot of the Rezeride Roadhouse Saloon west of Kinnear.
Mosho also injured Keina Duran and later collided with Charlene Brown while they were both traveling on U.S. Highway 26.
When Wind River Police Department officers arrested Mosho at 2:14 a.m. when her blood alcohol content was measured at .16 percent. The legal BAC limit to drive is .08 percent.
Under the sentence, Mosho, who was 33 at the time of the crime, also will serve a six-month term for her DUI charge concurrent with her other sentence. She has a $750 fine for the DUI charge, $415 in fees, must pay $12,750 in restitution to Duran, and will pay $5,582 to Brown to repair her 2002 Ford Taurus.
Prosecutors asked for a 10-20 year sentence, while the defense counsel argued 4-6 years was a more appropriate term.
LeBrun described the scene after Mosho struck Littleshield.
"The bartender sees (Littleshield) attempt to drag herself from under Ms. Mosho's vehicle at the last second before Ms. Mosho popped it into reverse and drove over her head." he said. "There is an undeniable fact: Ms. Mosho took Michelle Littleshield's life a terrible, unspeakable, unimaginable, unfathomable thing, and she earned every second of that 10 year sentence."
"There's so much more to the story. What you've considered up to this point is a relative thing," defense attorney Devon Petersen said. "I do think this is a case where a lower term is appropriate."
He said the defendant was scared and trying to escape a violent mob when she struck the victims.
Petersen said Mosho was visiting family in the area and went to the Rezeride on Dec. 2 with some of her cousins. At one point, she argued with a cousin and left the bar.
The attorney displayed a written statement by a companion of Littleshield. The friend said she, Duran and Littleshield arrived at the Rezeride together at about 1:20 a.m. to buy package liquor.
The friend saw the argument between Mosho and the cousin, then watched the defendant back her car into the friend's grandfather's pickup truck and drive off. The friend recognized the cousin but did not know Mosho.
Later, they saw Mosho drive back to the bar and stop in the parking lot, according to the statement.
The friend and two victims started yelling for Mosho to get out of her car and said they would beat her up, the statement said.
At the hearing, Petersen played a video of Fremont County Sheriff's Office detective Eric Granlund interviewing Rezeride bartender Jason Gustin, who told a similar story.
Gustin heard a commotion in the parking lot between 1:45 a.m. and 2 a.m. When he looked out the door, he saw a group of 5-6 women surround Mosho's car, one at each door and one in front and back.
"They were trying to get her out," Gustin said. "They said, 'Get out, get out, get out.'"
The bartender said a young woman who was not either of the victims was standing at the driver's side window of Mosho's car, picked up a rock "the size of a baseball" and threw it against the glass
Then Gustin went back inside to warn his coworker that he was going to clear people out of the parking lot, and as he walked he heard glass shatter.
At the hearing, Petersen projected photographs of Mosho's car on a screen. The windshield is broken in two places in the photos and the rear driver's side window is smashed in.
"She is in the middle of a nowhere, far away from home, and is surrounded by a mob," Petersen said. "I don't see that as a defense to drinking and driving and having killed someone ... 10-20 years for this night is too much to have given the victims contributing to this situation."