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UTAH SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS '88 CONVICTION FOR 1ST-DEGREE MURDER

The Utah Supreme Court has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of David Moosman, who was found guilty in the 1985 murder of his wife in a scheme to collect on a $110,000 insurance policy.

Moosman was convicted in 1st District Court of murder in the first degree, a capital offense; communications fraud, a first-degree felony; and filing a false or fraudulent insurance claim, a second-degree felony.He said he should have had a jury trial, that testimony was allowed from a forensic pathologist who did not actually conduct all parts of the autopsy on the victim; and that the evidence did not support a conviction.

Four justices concurred in the decision to reject all of Moosman's claims, which was released Monday, with Justice I. Daniel Stewart concurring in the result, but without comment.

On Sept. 14, 1985, Moosman and his wife, Tamara, were returning to Logan from Bear Lake. At about 8:30 p.m., according to the opinion, "the pickup truck driven by defendant left the roadway, vaulted through the air, and traveled 285 feet down a slope, rolling one and three quarter times before coming to rest on the driver's side on the Logan River."

Although Moosman said he helped his wife, who he said appeared to be all right, out of the truck and onto the river bank before climbing up the slope for help, he said it took him from the time the incident occurred, 8:30 p.m., until 11:15 p.m. to flag down a passing vehicle.

The trial court came to a different conclusion after hearing testimony that Tamara Moosman died from drowning, had several lacerations on her scalp that were caused by a blunt instrument that apparently struck her outside the truck, and that she had striations across her chest and abdomen that indicated she been wearing her seat belt.

The Supreme Court opinion stated that the trial court found that Moosman "intentionally steered the truck off the road and jumped from the truck . . . (and) that when defendant's attempt to kill his wife by staged accident failed, he climbed down the hill, struck her on the head with a blunt instrument, and allowed her body to float down the river, thereby drowning her."