GRAY -- Surrounded by seated family and friends, Judy Coker stood and faced the woman who bludgeoned her husband to death with a hammer.
Inside a Jones County courtroom, Coker told Pamela Moss that her husband, Doug, had been a good, honest, caring family man who did not deserve to be murdered.
She spoke of how she would never hear her husband call her sweet pea or baby cakes. Hed never cheer on the Atlanta Falcons.
I think you are evil and that is the only way God would let this happen, Coker said.
After deliberating for about 30 minutes, jurors found Moss, 55, guilty in Doug Cokers March 13, 2012, murder. They set aside other options of not guilty by reason of insanity and guilty but mentally ill.
Authorities found Cokers body underneath the porch of Moss home in the River North subdivision, located just across the Jones County from north Macon on March 18, 2012. Coker, a 67-year-old Henry County businessman, had driven to a north Macon McDonalds on March 13 to meet with Moss and get $85,000 she owed him. Moss didnt show up for the meeting and Coker was never seen again.
Ocmulgee Circuit Judge Trent Brown took a short recess after hearing Judy Cokers statement and an argument by District Attorney Fred Bright advocating a life without parole sentence.
When he returned, Brown addressed Moss saying, This court finds you to be intelligent, manipulating and calculating. ... Its due to your greed and utter disregard for human life that brings us here today.
He sentenced Moss to life without the possibility of parole.
Although theyd been dismissed after delivering their verdict, most jurors returned to the courtroom to hear the sentence.
In his closing argument Thursday morning, Moss lawyer, Franklin J. Hogue, said the fact that Moss struck Cokers head five times with a hammer wasnt in dispute during the four-day trial.
The question is if she was insane or mentally ill at the time of the killing, he said.
Hogue recounted the story of a circus elephant put on trial for murder a century ago because it had fatally flung a boy to the ground after becoming startled. The townspeople convicted the elephant and killed it by hanging it by the neck from a crane.
The elephant is being held accountable in the wrong way. ... It didnt choose to kill a human being. It just did what elephants do, Hogue said. Some people are like that too. They just act ... they dont weigh options or choose right from wrong. They dont know the difference sometimes.
He said it would be wrong for jurors to find Moss guilty if she was insane or mentally ill when she killed Coker.
Anthony Levitas, a psychologist hired by the defense, testified Wednesday that he has diagnosed Moss as having dissociative identity disorder earlier this summer. Two psychologists had made the same diagnosis earlier and had made records of her having as many as five alternate personalities.
Levitas said he met Caroline, one of Moss alternate personalities, on Wednesday and that Caroline said she remembered being on the floor with Coker standing over her holding what looked like a curtain rod. Then she saw blood.
Hogue said Carolines version of the events dont match what happened.
But thats what a delusion is, he said.
Hogue told jurors he didnt instruct Moss to tell Levitas a certain story and he didnt instruct Levitas what to ask Moss.
Did she say those things to him? He didnt come in here and make that up, Hogue said.
In order for a person to be found mentally ill in court, jurors must determine that the person acted either under a delusional compulsion that justified the killing or that a person didnt know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the killing.
In his argument, Bright reminded jurors that Hogue said on Monday in his opening statement that Moss acted under a delusional compulsion and that an alternate personality had acted to protect Moss.
But the story about Caroline didnt come to light until Wednesday, the third day of trial, he said.
I do say, how convenient, Bright said.
Bright said Darcy Shores, a Central State Hospital psychologist, testified she found no evidence that Moss acted under a delusional compulsion or that she didnt know the difference between right and wrong when Coker was killed.
Evidence in the case screams that Moss knew what she was doing, Bright said, citing the steps she took to lure Coker to her home, clean up the crime scene and hide from police.
He reminded jurors of testimony from Moss friends, a neighbor and her boyfriend who had talked with her on the day of the killing. None noticed a change in voice or mannerisms when talking with Moss -- signals Levitas said he noticed when Caroline emerged.
Bright argued against a sentence of not guilty by reason of insanity, saying, Its garbage. Its not justice. Its wrong.
Although jurors were not told during the trial that Moss served eight years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in her mothers 1996 poisoning death, Bright introduced evidence of the conviction during the sentencing phase of the trial.
He said he initially wanted to seek the death penalty against Moss, but the case wasnt eligible for capital punishment.
In Georgia, a crime must include one of several aggravating circumstances -- one being a prior murder conviction.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.