California appeals court finds Kayshon Moody guilty for 2017 slayings
By Sam Catanzaro
A state appeals court has upheld a man’s conviction for murdering both a Mar Vista marijuana dispensary clerk and gas station attendant and robbing a West Los Angeles hamburger joint.
On Friday, California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that Kayshon Moody was guilty of first-degree murder for the Jan. 17, 2017 shooting deaths of M.D. Mizu Rahman at a Chevron station in the 2100 block of North Vermont Avenue and Ovik Oganesyan at a medical marijuana dispensary at 12480 W. Venice Blvd. the next day. In addition, Moody was found guilty of second-degree robbery at a fast-food restaurant shortly before Rahman’s murder
On January 17, 2017 at approximately 2:00 a.m., Moody entered Big Tomy’s restaurant on West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, wearing a sweatshirt with the hood pulled over a baseball cap. He asked employee Francisco Garcia for a soda. Moody placed cash on the counter to pay for the beverage. As Garcia began to place it in the cash register, Moody displayed a gun, pulled back the slide, pointed the gun at Garcia, and demanded “all the money.” Garcia removed the cash drawer, which contained between $400 and $500. Moody told Garcia to put the drawer inside a bag he was carrying, but it did not fit. Moody grabbed the drawer, said “Happy New Year,” and ran away.
Tory Coronel, the mother of Moody’s child, identified Moody as the robber in security footage.
Later that morning, at approximately 3:30 a.m., Moody robbed and shot Mohammed Rahman, who was working at a Chevron minimarket located on North Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. Moody, wearing a baseball cap, entered the market, poured himself a soda from the soda fountain, put a plastic lid on top, and selected merchandise from the shelves. He then set the soda cup on the cashier counter, directed Rahman to give him “Swisher Sweets” cigars from behind the register, and took money from his pocket as if to pay for the items. Moody then pulled a gun from his waistband, racked the slide, and pointed it at Rahman. As Rahman moved away, Moody fired three shots. Rahman collapsed in a broom closet. Moody took the cash register drawer, ran to a white Nissan Versa, and drove away.
Rahman suffered four gunshot wounds: two to his back, which were both fatal wounds, and two to his arm. Three Winchester nine-millimeter Luger cartridge casings were recovered at the scene, along with one live round of the same make. Coronel identified Moody as the assailant in the video. She owned a white Nissan Versa, and Moody regularly drove it. Moody’s DNA was found on the soda cup lid.
The next day, on January 18, 2017, at approximately 11:30 a.m., Moody, along with accomplice James Eastland, robbed the Golden State Collective marijuana dispensary located on Venice Boulevard, and shot and killed employee Ovik Oganesyan.
Video footage from the dispensary showed Moody and Eastland, both wearing baseball caps, enter the dispensary lobby. Moody carried some bags. Eastland sat in the lobby while Moody conferred with Oganesyan at the reception window through the Plexiglass divider. After checking Moody’s paperwork, Oganesyan buzzed Moody into the reception area. As Oganesyan and Moody entered the showroom, Moody pulled a gun from his waistband, racked it, and fired several shots at Oganesyan, who fell to the ground.
Moody then ran to the reception area to let Eastland in, dropping his paperwork—including his California driver’s license—on the way. Unable to find the buzzer, Moody shot out the Plexiglass window.
Moody and Eastland loaded the bags with merchandise from the showroom, including jars from the dispensary cabinets. Moody also ransacked the office and took the cash register drawer. Moody jumped through the reception area window, Eastland kicked down the door, and the two men left by way of the back stairs.
Officers responding to the scene found Oganesyan on the floor in the showroom doorway, not breathing. He had suffered three gunshot wounds: two fatal wounds to his back, and a potentially fatal wound to the back of his thigh.
Coronel identified Moody as the shooter in the video. Ten Winchester nine-millimeter Luger cartridge casings were recovered at the scene, as were five fired bullets and a magazine.
Also found at the scene were Moody’s California driver’s license and other paperwork in his name.
“The videos clearly showed Moody committing robberies and murders; the jury could not reasonably have interpreted the video evidence to show commission of only lesser or different crimes, and Moody does not argue to the contrary. And, there was overwhelming evidence Moody was guilty of first degree murder, rather than a lesser degree of homicide. His conduct clearly fell within the felony murder rule. The evidence showed premeditation as well. His arrival at the crime scenes armed with a loaded gun suggested preplanning. Neither victim resisted him, and there was no evidence suggesting he shot in a panic, accidentally, in the heat of passion, or in perfect or imperfect self defense,” reads the opinion from the court.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided prior to the trial not to seek the death penalty against Moody, who was sentenced in February 2019 to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
Co-defendant Eastland pleaded guilty to murder and robbery charges involving that the dispensary killing, along with a separate robbery. He testified on behalf of the prosecution in Moody’s trial and was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison in September.