DANVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man was sentenced to life in prison without parole for stabbing to death an elderly couple as they sat in their wheelchairs.
Onis Donnell Moon, 52, was sentenced Tuesday for the murders of of Valean Ferrell Barley, 87, and Royal Douglas Barley, 83, in September 2018, the Danville Register & Bee reported. The judge also sentenced Moon to 20 years in prison for the malicious wounding of Sandra Callands, the Barleys’ daughter, who was in a relationship with Moon.
Leaning on a table, Moon apologized in a trembling voice to the family of the victims, many by name, and to his own family. He said he does not remember what happened, adding that he sees the faces of his victims every day and at night when he tries to sleep.
“I’m truly sorry for what happened that night,” he said.
In November, Moon pleaded guilty to charges of capital murder and malicious wounding to remove the possibility of receiving the death penalty.
On Sep. 7, 2018, police responded to a 911 call and found the two victims with stab wounds through their hearts. Callandss survived being stabbed multiple times, according to court documents.
Danville Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Newman said the evidence indicates the Barleys came to the defense of Callands, whom Moon was beating. Moon grabbed a butcher knife from a nearby room and plunged it into their hearts, Newman said.
Moon experienced a childhood full of violence, beatings and chronic instability, which started at the age of 2, when his father murdered his mother, said Dr. Daniel Murrie, an expert in forensic psychiatry.
“Many of the things he experienced … the research tells us relate to long-term problems,” he said. “Even compared to other capital defendants, this was severe.”
A forensic toxicologist also testified that Moon was severely impaired by alcohol at the time of the killings.
Public defender Faith Winstead requested a reduced sentence with the option of parole.
“We are not offering this evidence to the court as an excuse for what happened, but as an explanation,” she said. “The court has to acknowledge that Onis Moon is more than his worst day.”
Newman said that none of those factors could possibly mitigate the fact that Moon had murdered the couple.
“He didn’t endure (abuse) at the hand of those two victims,” he argued. “They opened up their home to him.”