Man Sentenced in Decades Old Murder Case

A little more than two hours after closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, jurors found Jewell Moses Bess guilty in his wife’s 1986 murder.

Judge David Bragg immediately sentenced Bess, 66, to life in prison.

“The best witness (for the prosecution) in this case who testified was Moses Bess,” Assistant District Attorney J. Paul Newman told The Daily News Journal after the verdict was read. “We knew if he testified then the jury would have to decide if they believed him or not.

“They obviously chose not to.”

Bess, 66, was on trial for the Aug. 19, 1986, shooting death of his wife, Deborah Sherfield Bess, in a case that was originally ruled a suicide.

Detectives re-opened the case in 2011, and a Rutherford County grand jury indicted Bess in the case in 2014.

When the verdict was read, Bess stood with a stoic expression on his face.

The only tear came from the gallery where witness Robin “Cotton” Croy cried as Judge David Bragg read the verdict.

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