Records show suspect in TV attack had many juvenile arrests
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A 19-year-old suspect charged in last week's fatal shootings of a TV reporter, a 9-year-old girl and a woman was arrested at age 15 for battering a high school student during an armed robbery, according to police reports released Friday through a public records request.
The reports released by the State Attorney's Office in Orlando show Keith Moses had at least two other arrests as a juvenile on charges that would have been felonies if he had been an adult.
One of Moses' earliest brushes with the law was in 2018 at age 14 when he was arrested on a grand theft motor vehicle charge. He was arrested twice more that year on felony-equivalent charges for allegedly stealing a computer from a car and striking the high school student during the attempted armed robbery with a friend. The State Attorney's Office in Orlando also released a police report about vehicles being burglarized in 2019, but it does not say if Moses was arrested in that case.
The records don't reflect misdemeanor arrests which are kept private for juveniles, nor do they show how the cases were resolved by the office of Democratic State Attorney Monique Worrell. Those also are kept confidential in juvenile cases.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ' office earlier this week requested documents and emails about the prior arrests and prosecution decisions involving Moses, both as juvenile and an adult. In the letter to Worrell, DeSantis’ general counsel said her office failed to hold Moses accountable.
The request from the governor’s office comes as DeSantis fights against what he calls “woke” prosecutors, bolstering his conservative criminal justice platform ahead of an expected run for president.
DeSantis last year removed State Attorney Andrew Warren, a twice elected Democrat in Tampa, over his signing of pledges that said he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments, as well as policies about not bringing charges for certain low-level crimes.
Mark NeJame, a lawyer for the families of the slain girl and the reporter said Thursday that DeSantis and Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who has also scrutinized Worrell over Moses’ criminal history, appear to be exploiting the deaths for their political agendas.
Moses is facing three first-degree murder charges for last week’s fatal shootings of Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons, 9-year-old T’yonna Major and Nathacha Augustin. Also shot were the girl’s mother and Spectrum News 13 photographer Jesse Walden.
Besides the juvenile cases, Moses was arrested as an adult during a traffic stop in November 2021 for cannabis possession. The case was dismissed. Worrell has said there was not conclusive evidence that Moses was illegally in possession of marijuana.
Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at @MikeSchneiderAP