Eddie Mosley wasn’t a blood relative of DeLois Brown and her parents, but he was warmly received into the family circle as a child.

A St. Louis resident, he often spent holidays in Minnesota. He took his children on vacations with Brown’s daughter, his half-sister, and was a frequent customer of DeLois Brown’s home day care in Brooklyn Park.

But after Mosley was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage relative, it set in motion a calculated plan that ended in the deaths of Brown, 59, and her parents, James Bolden Sr., 83, and Clover Bolden, 81, prosecutors alleged Monday. The victims were found shot to death April 9, 2012, in an upstairs bedroom at their Brooklyn Park home, Brown’s arms wrapped around her father’s legs.

Mosley is accused of committing the killings, and his trial opened Monday.

In opening arguments, prosecutor Darren Borg said “it was a senseless and brutal end to three lives. But now, we are in court. We must speak of it.”

Defense attorney Travis Keil contended, in part, that Mosley had no motive to kill the victims, whom he had recently helped, and that evidence indicates Mosley was in St. Louis too soon after the crimes to have been able to commit them.

A tense Hennepin County courtroom was packed with friends and relatives of Brown and the Boldens. Borg’s one-hour opening was sprinkled with graphic descriptions of what he called Mosley’s “consideration, planning, prepping and determination to murder three people.”

In painstaking detail, he said that the evidence will show that Mosley, 35, drove all night from St. Louis in his black Dodge Durango with a loaded handgun, and with a passenger who was unsuspecting about what was going to happen when he reached Brooklyn Park after the 10-hour trip. Mosley parked about a half-mile from Brown’s house, took out a bicycle from the vehicle and rode the rest of the way, the prosecutor said.

Mosley made his way inside, expecting to find the teenage relative he was accused of sexually assaulting. He had been charged in Wright County with the crime, and he was coming to Minnesota “to silence the teenager and then kill Brown” because she would be a witness, said Borg. As he shot the victims twice in the head, Mosley had no idea that shortly before, a parent had dropped her son off at the day care, Borg said.

As that parent was leaving, she had seen Mosley circling the area on his bicycle, Borg said. She called Brown to warn her and heard commotion.

“Hey, you!” screamed Brown, and then the phone went dead.

The woman drove back toward the house, saw Mosley on his bicycle and followed him several blocks, Borg said. When she saw him reach for a gun, she drove away, he said. She returned to Brown’s house to find her son safe, but Brown and her parents had been shot to death.

Authorities in St. Louis arrested Mosley in the sexual assault case four days after the homicides. He was charged with second-degree murder about a month later and bail was set at $6 million.

Defense arguments

Keil, Mosley’s attorney, kept his opening arguments to 10 minutes. He stressed that his client had no motive to kill people who treated him like a son and grandson, even though he wasn’t a biological member of their families. Mosley helped build a ramp at Brown’s house to accommodate James Bolden, who was ill and needed a wheelchair.

And, Keil said, Mosley has an alibi. He said Mosley made a call from his cellphone in St. Louis a few hours after the killings. He highlighted a lack of physical evidence: the weapon and bicycle were never recovered by authorities and none of Mosley’s DNA was found at the crime scene.

Keil also focused on contrasting descriptions several witnesses gave authorities about the alleged killer’s physical appearance and what clothes that person was wearing. Keil asked why, after Mosley learned he had been charged with the sexual assault of a young relative, he didn’t threaten her since he knew where she lived.

Mosley, dressed in a suit, tapped his foot at times during the opening arguments. Never showing any emotion, he would stare blankly at the attorney or Judge Toddrick Barnette. Mosley took the unusual step of requesting a bench trial, which means his case won’t be heard by a jury.

The prosecution’s first witness was Walidah Harris, Mosley’s half sister. She talked of how her family was quick to accept Mosley as one of their own after they learned he was born from an affair her father had with another woman, They grew up as children and kept in contact as adults, vacationing with their children at the Wisconsin Dells.

After the trial broke for the day, many of Brown and Bolden’s relatives mingled in the main atrium of the Hennepin County Government Center. James Bolden Jr., the Boldens’ son, said it wasn’t the right time to comment about the case.

“We are all very fragile right now and we are hopefully getting to the end,” he said. “What can you say?”