Interview with Carolyn Mosley
Carolyn Mosley Samuel is the mother of Ortralla LuWone Mosley, who was fifteen years old on March 28, 2003, when she was stabbed to death at Reagan High School (Austin) by her sixteen-year old ex-boyfriend. In Video 1, Mosley describes the history of abuse in her family, her struggle to interrupt those patterns as a parent, and the circumstances leading up to the death of her daughter. In Video 2, Mosley discusses the aftermath to the murder in the high school, in the courts, and in her decisions to start a foundation to prevent teen dating violence and to become a correctional officer. In Video 3, Mosley describes reconciling with her mother before her mother’s death. The interview took place on October 1, 2009 in Austin, Travis County, Texas.
CAROLYN MOSLEY: Okay, I am Carolyn Mosley and I was born in Nacogdoches, Texas and at three months we moved to Dallas and when we moved to Dallas, my father used to do a lot of different types of work until he became a self-employed plumber. He had his own business. And when he had his business, we did pretty good. We were doing real good. My dad was a great provider. And my mom, she was the kind of person she didn't have to work and when she grew up she was abused. And when she was abused, or by her abused, she then abused because that was her bringing up. And I was the product of her abuse. I would get beat with extension cords, switches, if a switch wore out, she going come back with another switch—go get me another one. I might have knots upside my head, my nose might be bleeding, I might be bleeding all over from scars—I still got scars from switching cords. My sisters used to beg my mom "Mom, stop. We'll bust instead of her," you know. And because of that abuse, I left home. And when I left home, I ran into another type of abuse because I wanted to leave home so badly it didn't matter to me. But I didn't know I was running into the arms of another abuser, which was a man. And the type of abuse that I got from this man was—he would beat me. And on my birthday he beat me so badly, I was seven months pregnant and he beat me so badly until I lost my son. You see, my first-born was a son. And I was seven months pregnant when he got killed. And I say when got killed because they said at the hospital that my son got killed because my son was actually inside of me fighting for his life. His eye was you know, messed up. His arm was broken. His little ribs were crushed in the little gristle bone that he did have was all beat up and messed up. On March the twenty-first. I got beat up on March the seventeenth. Now I remember all of these dates. On March the seventeenth I got beat up. On March the twenty-first, I had my son. I held my son in my vagina until I got to the hospital. They were like Miss Carolyn, you got to let him go, you got to let it go. I said but if I let it go, he going to come. It’s too early. I have a thing with children. I love children. I love children so much. And when they get hurt, it’s a pain for me to see a child hurting. So my son didn't make it. His name was DeMarcus, and he did not make it.
Although I went back home with my mom because I left him, and I went back home to my mom, and after getting back home to my mom, I couldn't afford to stay with my mother. See, my mother wasn't one of those mothers that you could stay here until you could get back on your feet and move out. My mother was one of those mothers who was you pay me four hundred dollars a month and you buy your rent and I still have my car loan and my insurance, so basically it's like I had a one bedroom apartment staying with my mother. So there was no way I could save money. Plus, I was working with my father at the time because I had gotten beaten up so bad, this man would come to my job. I lost my job behind of him. So thank God my dad had a business to where I could have a little something coming in. And that little something, my check would go to my mother, not my daddy. Because my mother was one of those people, boy she dressed, my mom she dressed good. That's one thing about her, we all dress well but my mother, she have her hats on, you know she'll be dressed to a t. But I'm not, dogging my mom out. I love my mother with everything in me. We just didn't get an opportunity at that age to learn each other. And people ask me, “Why you didn't get an opportunity to learn your mother, your mother didn't get an opportunity to learn you?” No because my mother didn't know how. And me being as young as I was, I didn't know how to give her love because I wasn't receiving it. You have to be taught love before you can to give it. You got to know what love is before you can pass it down. I didn't know what it was. All I knew was abuse. And being abused was a norm for me. It was like you wake up, you go to sleep, wondering, what good can happen for me when you being told, twenty-four seven you just like me and you ain't going to be nothing. You ain't gonna be able to do this, you ain't gonna be able to do that. Although I was in school—I was city core council leader, I was president of this, I was president of that. I mean, I was doing good in school. But it was not appreciated by my mom because she would always put it up in my face, you just like me. Well if I’m just like you, what's wrong with me? What's wrong with us? Why can't we fix it? Those have always been my questions. So I grew on up, stayed with my mom. This guy, he kept talking to me and I was like, “Lord I need a way out. I need a way out of this.” I went back. You know, you wonder, why do people go back to their abuser? I went back because I was going to be abused any way I went. I felt like I didn't have a choice. I didn't really know how to grow up because I'd never been taught how to grow up. I didn't know how to be responsible wholeheartedly because I wasn't taught how to be responsible. All I'd been taught was when you make your check, you bring it home, whether it was for him or for my mother. I didn't know how to do money because I'd never had money of my own. So basically, that’s like that took my independence away. I was always dependent upon my abusers, because I had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. So in the process of me going back, I found out that I was pregnant again, with my oldest daughter Kasma. When I was pregnant with Kasma—this ain't going to happen to me no more. I'm getting out of this. So I left, pregnant, and when I left, it was just me and Kasma, and for three years we did great. I was doing really, really well. And then I met Trella's dad. When I met him, I thought everything was going to be good. You know, a lot of times when you meet guys, and I can only speak from a woman's point of view because I'm a woman. But a lot of times when you meet a man and you feel good with him, give it time. And the reason why I say that is because I rushed. I didn't get to know him, I just got to get to know what was in his pants. And I didn't get to know him as an individual, as a person with emotions, as a person with feelings, as a person with time inside. And what I mean by that is, after I got to know him I found out he couldn' t wake up without a joint, he couldn't go to sleep without a joint, he couldn't wake up in the middle of the night and go to the bathroom without smoking a joint before he come back to bed. I didn't know of the addiction that he had. So there I am, running into another abuse. And that got so to where he started stealing. Our bills wasn't getting paid because him too, I was giving my money to. So I left him when Trella was nine months old. And I moved, and I started teaching my children abuse because I was never taught that. And I always thought, if I don't teach them then they could fall into the arms of people like I did. And then if I taught them, at least they could notice it before it got too bad. And I taught my children how to love. See a lot of people don't teach their children love. They teach their children, “Be who you are and whatever happens happens. And what I mean by that is like you have people saying, "Ok, well, I love him and I care a lot about him, but what is love?” Love is your worth, love is who you are, love is being you freely and unconditionally. Love don't come with a condition. Love comes with much freedom. And people don't understand that. They think you have to be bound in love. No. If you bound in love, you're being abused. Because to be bound means you're being forced to do something or you're steadfast and you can't do nothing at all. All that, that's abuse. Only thing that I feel love can come with is freedom. And that's something Trella would say all the time. Love is a butterfly. It's locked up in an individual until its' able to let go and be free. A lot of people didn't understand that concept but a butterfly's in a cocoon for so long but when it comes out it’s beautiful. And that's what love is. It's beautiful, it's freedom. And I taught my children that.
So Trella got older, Kasma got older, and there was an incident that happened with me and my oldest daughter Kasma. This incident happened to where the police ended up being called to my house because my daughter did something to me one day and I flipped out. I jumped momma on her. And I don't mean me momma, I mean my momma. She raised her hand at me, and I've always—I was the type of person back then where little girls, if ever you raise your hand to me that would make me wonder and think and feel that at that particular moment, that you forgot that I'm your mom—that I'm just somebody off the street. So in turn, I'm going forget you my child, and I'm gonna show you what you done run up on. I may be older but I'm going, I'm going hurt you. That was my concept. I went—that part was not correct on my part. I never should have made that statement to my children and I should have never done that to my children. But that was my defense in regards to letting them know, “Don't ever try it.” Me thinking I'm putting fear in their heart, “Don't raise your hand to you mom, she going to kick your butt.” My oldest daughter Kasma got bold one day. Homegirl raised her hand to me and when she did, I went off. To this day, she'll tell you, mom's still apologizing for that. Police was called to the house, I went to the house and I said, “y'all might as well handcuff me now.” I said, “Because when y'all leave, I'm gonna beat her up again. You going to call the police on me and I've been taking care of you all these years, you don't even know your daddy? You don't even see your daddy, you don't even talk to your daddy? What's up with this? And then you going to take this out on me? And then call the police to my house? Girl, you crazy.” And I'm saying all this in front of the police officer. And they was like "Miss Mosley, calm down, calm down Miss Mosely, calm down." I said, "Okay, what do y'all want?" They said well, we going have to call CPS [Child Protective Services], I said, “Well call them.” And then I snapped and I said, “Girl, you acting like your momma. Chill out.” So what I did, I looked at them officers, there was about six of them, my house was full, and I said, “You know what? Give me till Monday. I'm going get me and my child some help.” Notice I didn't say I'm going to get my child some help. We, as a family at that time, had a problem. All three of us because I had involved Trella for seeing that. Kasma and I went off on each other, although she didn't go off on me, she just raised her hand and I just went off. I hurt her. She never hit me. But it was just the fact that that hand raised. Knowing that I've already been in abusive relationships, I took it out on her. So they said well, “Miss Mosley, we understand what you're going to do.” So I said, “I was trying to protect my child so if y'all see her out there y'all shoot her because Kasma was going through some things.” She had some behavior problems. She would skip school, she would do some things, you know. But when she would skip school, she was going up to Trella's school. You heard someone says one word to Trella, Kasma's on her way because Trella's not going to do nothing to you. Although she can get pretty silly sometimes, she ain't gonna do nothing to you. Kasma will come and beat you up and go on back to school like nothing happened. So they said, “Okay, we'll give you until Monday, but C.P.S. is going to come out.” I said, “Okay.” A lady came out from C.P.S. that Friday—it was a Friday—she came out that Friday and she said, “We are going to have to start monitoring your house and monitoring your children and blah blah blah.” And I said, “No you're not.” I said, “I told the police give me until Monday. You give me until Monday, and I'm going to show you what I can do for me and my family.” She said. “Well what are you going to do?” And I said, “I really don't know yet.” I said, “But me and my family need help, mainly me since I'm considered the head of the household. I need some serious help.” And a lot of people when they see they need a problem, they hide it. And the problem only continues to grow. It continues to grow and fester and fester and fester until you blow up again and it's worse than before. I learned that through abuse. I taught my children that. If they tap you one time, the next time they're going to tap you harder. They tap you harder the next time they going to hit you. When they hit you then they going to start beating up on you. It just goes grow and grow and grow and grow. So come Saturday, I start making phone calls that morning and I found this place called the Methodist Children Home. And I spoke to a young lady there and I started crying when I talked to her and I said, “You got to help me.” She said, “Well, this is a home for children.” So I said, “When you help my child, you going to be helping me.” And she told me all the things that they offered. They offered counseling for you know, parents and the children, but the only thing is your child has to stay there. The child has to stay there for a year. I was like, “Well we ain't never been separated, so I don't know.” She said, “You said you wanted help Ms Mosley.” I said, “Whatever it takes, let's do it.” Sunday, me and my children, me Kasma and Trella rode to Waco, Texas. I sat down and I talked to Miss Stephanie and she said, “We can accept her today if you like.” I said, “We didn't bring any clothes, we didn't bring anything, we just came to talk to you.” She said, “Okay, well, you can bring her back in a week.” I said, “Tell you what, she can stay tonight, I can bring her clothes and things tomorrow.” My daughter stayed at Methodist Home for Children for a year and half. It was hard. But it was a lesson learned among the family because we found out what our issues were. My children were lonely because there wasn't man in the house. They didn't get to know their dad, but they also found out that it's not your momma's fault that you don't know your dad. They also found out that I lashed out from the pain and the suffering that I had within myself. And it's like an addiction. You're going to have it, but you've got to learn how to control it. You've got to learn how to not let it take over you. So that's why I say that I have, because I still have those issues and every now and then I can feel them coming up and everybody get upset, but you got to learn, you got to know how to control your own issues. My issues are not your issues so you can't fault me for what I'm doing. I can't fault you. All I can do is consider it helping you. So she stayed there for a year and a half. She graduated. My daughter was doing—she's doing so much better, even now I'm so proud of her. So she came home, and Trella came to me and said, “Momma, I want to go to Reagan High School. “Oh, no you don't.” Because I had heard that Reagan was a bad school. I did. I heard that Reagan was just all out, it was wild out, that's what the young people say, it's wild out. I heard it was terrible, and I said, “Trella, please baby, you don't want to go there.” “Yes I do, Momma. All my friends go there, all my friends go to Reagan.” “Okay, but you better keep your grades up or I'm gonna let you go there for the first year and I want you to keep your grades up. If you don't keep your grades up, we moving around. We're gonna get you out of there.”
Trella went to school and in the ninth grade she was doing real good. She had made the dean's group and everything was good. So her sister ended up pregnant and the way she told me she was pregnant, I had went to Firestone to get my oil changed and to get some new tires on my car. Now Kasma goes over to the attendant, to the cashier person, and she's whispering something to him and I'm like, “What is she doing?” And I look over to the door and Trella's over there holding the door open. And I'm just going back and forth like, “What is going on, what are they doing?” Kasma comes over to me, she stands up and I'm looking up at her, I said, “What you doing, girl?” She says, Mom, I got to tell you something. Now mind you, Kasma was a track star. She ran track. She says, “I got to tell you something, Mom.” I used to tell my girls, you get pregnant I'm going to beat you up, you better not never get pregnant. We say things to our children, but, you know, some parents may mean it, but some, me—I can only speak for me, I said it to scare them—to hope that they don't do it because of the fear that I'm maybe placing in their heart. I don't know if that's correct either, but that's what I did. And I'm the kind of person that confess on my own. So she said, “Momma, I'm pregnant.” [Shoosh] she ran out that door. Why, she took off so fast that I was like. And the man looked at me and he said, “Ma'am, you all right?” And I said, “I don't know. Did you just hear what she said?” He said, “Yeah, she told me if you grab her, call the police.” And I'm looking at Trella, like, Trella's got her hand in her mouth like, and she looking at me like, “Wow, Momma.” I said, I go out the door, and I'm walking. Kasma's all the way up to the Taco Cabana on Williamson County. I mean not Williamson County, but I mean William County. It’s the far right there on thirty-five. Kasma's all the way up there by the Taco Cabana and I'm yelling, “Kasma, come here.” She says, “No momma, no, you're going to hit me.” I said, “Kasma, come here.” Trella comes over there, she looks me in my eyes, she looks at Kasma, I say, “Kasma, come here.” Trella gets up real close to me, she looks at me in my eye, “Kasma come on, she ain't going to do nothing to you.” Kasma comes over there. I went to put my arms around her, she flinched. And I hugged her and I said, “We going to be all right. This is going to work. We're going to make this work.” And she just started bawling. I said, “Baby I love you. You are going to have my grandchild. I can't hurt you.” So, she had my grandson. He was so sick. He almost didn't make it. He was on a machine, a breathing machine for almost a year. He was very, very sick when he was born and she almost died having him. So, me and Trella was there for her though. Her sister, Trella took care of her sister. And she basically took the baby as though he was hers. And his name is Isaiah , strong, strong name for my baby. We looked in the Bible and gave him that name. So Isaiah grew up, and Trella was in Reagan, Kasma was a mother. I'm a grandmother. We had all of this going on. Trella came home one day and she said, “Momma I met somebody. I think he's kinda nice.” I said, “Okay, why you telling me? Well, I want you to meet him because I think I want him to be my boyfriend.” See that's the understanding me and my children had. You know, when either one of my girls, when they started their cycle, Trella for instance, she called me, I was at work, three or four o'clock in the morning. She call me, “I'm a little lady, I'm a little lady.” I said, “Shut up. You a lady? Shoot, girl, I'm coming home.” I went home, we had breakfast, went to the store and bought personals, we talked all day. Now she needs to know about being pregnant, she needs to know all about it. So we did that. That's just an example of the relationship me and my children had. So she came home, “I kind of like him Momma, he's kind of cute. He's a quarterback.” And she was the president of the cheerleading, and that's supposed to just be the given couple. I'm like well. “Okay, you know I need to meet him. I need to meet him.” She brought him over New Year's Day. New Year's Day. I met him. Wonderful young man. Really nice young man. About a month later, she came home, "Momma, I can't be with him no more, I can't be with Marcus. His name is Marcus. I can't be with him. I said, “Baby, why you can't be with him? What's wrong? Y'all were so cute.” Thought everything was going so well. And it’s so much other little things that happened in between that time that was I thought was nice. Uh-uh. “Momma, he don't want me to wear spaghetti strap shirts.” “Excuse me?” “Momma, that's forcing me to wear something I don't want to wear or to not wear something I don't want to wear. And in my book, what you've taught us, that's a form of abuse.” I'm proud of her. “Yeah, you right baby. When you feel uncomfortable when you're with someone, that is a form of abuse maybe big or small. Because if you feel that you have to be made to do something, or made not to do something, it's abuse. I don't care how you put it.” And that let me know that my daughter knew, and understood some forms of abuse. So they broke up. And I was in the process of getting married. And uh, Trella say, “Momma, I’m just not going to be with him any more.” I said, “Okay baby.” “But Momma something wrong with him. He's talking about how he's going to kill himself if I don't be with him. Mom, you got to get him some help.” Trella had a very tender heart, a very tender heart. I said, “Get him some help? He got parents. Let his parents get him some help. You know, you leaving him I'm alone, I'm going to leave him alone. We ain't gonna have nothing to do with this boy.” She was like, “Well, Momma, you has got to get him some help.” I said, “Okay Trella,” just nonchalant, “Okay, we'll get him some help.” I got married on March the 16th. He sang a song because we had already had him in the wedding party, and we thought he was over it. This is where I say that we overlook things that we don't know. And you know, just being a friend of the family now, and he was already in the wedding party on the program. Which that's just not saying I'm justifying him being or singing a song, but that was that just the way it was. So, he sang a song at the wedding. My husband at that time and we left. And we went out of town after the wedding. On March the seventeenth, my birthday, we got a call. Marcus is in the house he done cut his neck in my house. Why is he even over there? How did he even get in? He bogarted his way into my house. Told Trella if she wasn't gonna be with him he was going to kill himself, right there in front of her. And he had her scared because not because he cut his neck, now mind you she wasn't scared because he cut his neck, Trella was afraid because he told her that he was going to tell the police she did it. She didn't know how to tell that. She didn't know how to say that—she was afraid. But she knew she could tell her momma because she knew her momma was gonna believe her.
Now mind you, his mother is outside in the car. Right there in itself is a sick situation. Okay. Now when I found out, because we came home that night, when I found out she was out there in the car, brought him over to my house knowing I'm not home, right there that lets you know that there is a problem in that household somewhere. Because first of all my child say, “Momma I know that they got married yesterday, but I want to go over to their house.” First of all you ain't going nowhere, especially over tho their house, the parents are not home. This is where we need to get the control over our children and control over out own lives as adults. So we get home, Trella telling me what happened. She's just all scared. I said, “You have no reason to be scared baby. You didn't do anything. He's going to blame you. Okay, that's fine, we'll go to court and prove it.” So I called his mom, I said, “Look Ms Mc Tierney, I need to talk to you and your husband as soon as possible.” Mind you, her husband was a preacher. And I was like a lot of people hide behind their collars, and I mean no offense to anyone, but some people hide behind their collars, and they need to be brought into the light. So, I couldn't get him. She couldn't even get him to commit to a meeting. And I was like, “What is going on?” So the following Monday came and she committed to a meeting on Thursday night. No, I'm sorry on Wednesday night. I go over, my husband and I at that time, we go over there, me him, Trella, we go as a family. And we go over there—we sitting in their house on a Wednesday. Wednesday, March the twenty-sixth. We sitting at their house, And I’m like—I could feel it, the pain, the hurt, the sorrow, the suffering in these peoples’ house. Trella looked at me and she said Momma this ain't right. And I said, “I know, I know baby, I feel it too.” We sit there and we talk to those people, no more than about thirty minutes, if that long. I was like, Marcus had asked me if I could get him some help. He called and he asked me, he said, “I need some help. Can you give me some help?” I said, “You know what, I'm gonna call this place that Kasma used to go, And if I have to pay for it myself, I'll get you some help.” So that's what I was going over to his house to discuss with his parents. Now mind you, I'm a female, coming to this man who's supposed to be so bold, a preacher—he's just strong. And I'm saying, “Your child need help and I'm willing to help him.” That man, I know he felt in his mind, “This woman going come into my house and basically try to headstrong me.” But it wasn't that. It was me being concerned about your child. Because I was starting to feel something after talking to your child that I feel you need to handle up on. That man looked at me in my eyes and said, “You take care of yours and I'll take care of mine.” Now me being the mother that I am, I took that to heart. Because I'm going take care of mine. I'm just automatically thinking, “You a father that's going to take care of yours.” He didn't. But when he said it, I looked at Marcus. That look that boy had on that—it would have killed you. If it had thorns, if it had anything sharp, if it was a gun, everybody in that room would have died behind that one look. And I looked at him and I said, “Marcus, that look, right there,” I said, “That one, that look you got in your eyes, right there, that's the one you've got to work on—that's the anger that's gonna get you in trouble.” “Yes ma'am. Yes ma'am.” So I got ready to leave because his father asked us to leave. I hugged Marcus and I said, “I love you. “ I said, “I love you,” and we left. On the way home my daughter Trella, she said, “Momma, you got to promise me something.” I said, “What baby?” “You got to promise me you going get him some help no matter what.” I said, “What, well, Trella, I can't do no more than his people are letting me.” “Momma, you can do it. You can get some help for him.” Wow. I did the same thing. I was like, because I could see—I could see her eyes. I could still see that look in her face when she asked me. She said, “Please momma?” “Okay Trella, I'm going to do what I can. Okay, promise you. Momma’s going to do what she can.” So we went home, and she didn't get no phone calls on Wednesday night, didn't get no phone call so we thought everything was going to be cool. You know, although I had already called Miss Stephanie again to let her know I needed for her to interview this young man so we could see if we can't get him some help. Trella gets up Thursday and she goes to school. I take her to school. And on the way to school we was talking about the day. Trella had this thing about—they used to go to the mall almost every other Friday, every other Saturday they go to the mall. And when they go to the mall, they all want to dress alike. This particular Saturday coming up they want to wear pink t-shirts. A couple of the girls didn't have their pink t-shirts. So we were talking about on Friday—her plans, where she was going to go and all this good stuff, and I'm like, “Okay, baby.” I said, “Okay,” I said, “Okay, you got your phone in case something goes wrong and you need to call me? Because, I said, “You know he may try to talk to you. You don't want to talk to him, you want me to come pick you up—I'll come and get you.” Now this was Thursday. She said, “Okay Momma, I'll see you, I love you.” I said, “I love you too.” She goes to school, and I'm at home. All of a sudden I get this phone call at about four o'clock. It's Marcus. “Momma,” to this day he still calls me Momma, he says, “Momma, I did something real bad.” I said, “Marcus, what did you do?” He said, “I saw Trella talking on the phone and I got her phone and I threw it up against a wall and I broke it into a million pieces.” I said, “You know you gonna pay for that phone, right?” “Yeah.” I said, “Okay, how and why did you get that angry?” Because she was on the phone and she wasn't talking to me. I said, “Marcus what is wrong with you baby? You don't have control over her like that. You don't have control over anyone but yourself and you need to get control over yourself.” “Momma can I talk to you? I just need to talk to you.” I said, “Okay, I'm on my way.” I said, “Meet me across the street at Nelson field.” He met me over there and we talked for about an hour and a half because I wasn't supposed to pick Trella up until six. We talked for about an hour and a half, and the things this young man told me, and he was begging me—“I got a problem. I need some help.” I said, “Well baby, I got this school that I called, but your father ain't going to let me do that for you.” “Well I'm going to run away from home. I'm going to run away from home.” “Don't run away from home because you going to have to face this problem one day.” So I go pick up Trella and she's coming out with a friend of hers named Brian. Marcus was furious, I was like, “What, get back in this car. What's wrong with you?” So I get out and I'm hugging Mar—Brian, and I'm hugging Brian and get back in the car and Marcus is sitting in the front. Trella is sitting in the passenger's seat directly behind him, and I'm driving. Nobody's saying anything. I'm looking at Trella in the mirror because for one, Trella must be wondering what is he doing in this car? I'm leaving him alone but you got him in the car and he done broke my phone today. Why is he in the car? So I told Trella, I said, “Trella, when I'm driving home,” I said, “Trella,” I said, “Marcus called me and said he broke up your phone. And he called me and asked me to come and talk to him.” I said, “That's why we going to go ahead and take him home first, before we go home, okay?” She said, “Okay, Momma.” She just sat back there quietly. And we're driving and I'm going about forty-five, fifty on Cameron Road. All of a sudden, the door opens on the passenger’s side in the front seat and Marcus lean out. We got trucks coming. We got cars coming. Now mind you this is six o'clock traffic on Cameron Road. I reach over and I'm grabbing him and I'm holding him with dear life. Trella's got him from behind and she's holding him for dear life and we—I reach over and now—I'm driving with my knee now—and I reach over and I grab the door and I close it shut. I pull us over to the side of the road. I'm on the slow lane. I done stopped traffic. I'm sitting there. I have to breathe. “Marcus, what is wrong with you?” “I don't want to live. I don't want to live. If I can't have you and Trella in my life, I don't want to live. Ain't nobody else love me like y'all do. That's why I call you Momma and I call my momma Dorothy.” All his life—I'm like, “Oh Marcus, Marcus, Marcus, baby, baby, baby.” So now I'm crying. I'm crying. He was so hurt. He was really, really hurt. That young man was really, really hurt and he couldn't get no help—couldn't get no help from nobody because his father wasn't going to allow it and his father wasn't going to do it. So I'm driving like five in the slow lane. So I get almost to where we turn and I just stopped in the slow lane and all the cars pass me. I make sure no other car was coming. I bet we sat there for almost fifteen minutes waiting for no other car to come so that I can get all the way over in the fast lane and make my left turn—to make sure he didn't jump out of my car.
So we drive up to his house and his dad is sitting in the garage. And I walk over to his dad and I said, “Mister McTear, you need to get this boy some help.” I said, “I don't know what's going on in y'all house, but you need to get your son some help.” I said, “This boy just tried to jump out of my car and kill his self.” Trella's just—oh my God, my baby, she was just so hurt. She was back there just crying. She was crying so hard and I was like, “Trella, what is wrong?” She said, “Momma, he's going to kill himself. He's going to kill himself because he don't feel nothing.” I said, “Trella what do you mean by he don't feel nothing?” She said, “I don't know Momma. He just don't feel nothing.” We go home. The phone is like ringing off the hook. It's Marcus calling, calling, calling, calling. I said, “Trella, unplug your phone because he was calling her line in her bedroom.” I said, “Unplug your phone.” She unplugged her phone. Then he started calling her cell phone. I said, “Just don't answer the other line.” I said, “Just don't answer because a couple of her friends was calling and talking to her about her phone being broke at school, all that stuff, you know how children do.” So, she was like, “Mom, he keep calling.” I said, “Well, you don't have to talk to him Trella.” I said, “Don't talk to him baby, just let it go. Don't talk to him.” She said, “I don't want to talk to him Momma, but I'm just concerned.” She said, “I got to ask you something though Momma.” I said, “What, baby? You promise you still going to get him some help?” “Trella, what's wrong with you? You see this boy? We can't do nothing.” “Momma you can do it. You can do it Momma.” “Trella, okay, I'll see what I can do.” Trella gets up that morning. It's like she went into dreamland and woke up new. Trella woke up Friday morning. She had a ponytail. She wore some white shorts, a white spaghetti strap shirt, some white socks, the white bobby socks with the little round ball on the back—you know you used to wear that back then. And she had that on. Everything was white. She had a little bit of make up on—that big, beautiful smile. So on the way—on her way to school, we was talking about her day again. “Mom, you know I got to go and get the t-shirts for the girls, so don't pick me up until six because we going to ride the bus to Highland Mall. I'm like, “Okay baby, okay.” She said, “But remember what I asked you yesterday?” I said, “What'd you ask me? I said is it about Marcus?” She said, “No—remember we was talking?” I said, “Girl we done talk about so much, what?” “Remember M.C.I. is hiring? And you know, we was going to be working there as sixteen year olds.” M.C.I. was going to have some sixteen year olds work for the summer. “And remember I told you to go and get a job so you can be our supervisor?” “Trella! I can't go get no job at M.C.I. and be your supervisor.” “Momma, yes you can. Yes you can, Momma. We already talked about it, we know, you going to be our supervisor.” I said, “Oh my God, Trella. You just want me to do so much. I said, “Tell you what. I'll go up there. And I'll fill out the application and everything but I’m going to let you know don't be disappointed. They're not going to hire me. I'm too old. They're not going hire me to work at M.C.I. when they got all those little telemarketers up there, all them little young people. They ain't going to have me up there.” “Momma, that's why they going to have you up there so you can be a supervisor.” “Okay Trella, Okay. I'm going to go and do that, but I'll be here at six o'clock to pick you up, okay?” So she gets out of the car and she's just skipping along. And I look at her. And I was like, “Trella.” She turned around, “Huh?” I said, “Girl you are beautiful.” And she says, “Go on, Momma.” I said, “Girl won't you give me some digits” You know, I'm playing with her. “Gimme them digits, girl.” “Momma, go on!” I said, “All right girl. I love you. I love you too, Momma. Go on go home. Get ready—go to the interview.” “Okay, Trella, okay, but I love you girl.” She ran back to the car. “Give me a kiss.” “I love you too Momma.” I said, “I love you too.” Not knowing that those were going to be my last words to my baby and her last words to me. That's why I tell people we don't have time. We don't. Time is not on our side. You have to take the moment and the second that you're living in to appreciate the people you're with. It's different kinds of love. You got to make sure that anytime that you're in the presence of anybody before you depart—make sure you show them some love—maybe a nice feeling handshake, a hug, or just a touch. Show love. Because like I said, “I never knew those were going to be my last words to my sweetheart.” So I go home. And I'm like, “Lord, what am I going to wear?” So I put on this red and black outfit—Trella loved this red and black outfit. I said, “Okay, well, I'm going to put this on.” I get to this interview at nine o'clock. I don't have no appointment. I walk in and say, “I want to be hired today.” This lady looked at me like, “Well, ma'am, do you have an appointment?” “No sweetheart. But I'm supposed to get hired today. My daughter said I'm getting this job.” “Ok ma'am, well fill out this application and we'll set you up an appointment when you bring it back.” I said, “Okay. I filled out the application, and when I go up there, there's another lady sitting behind the desk. And she said, “Ma'am can you step in that room and take that test?” I took a test. And when I took the test, I went back to the first lady that was sitting there again. It was like they was playing tag or something—so I went back to the first lady and she was sitting there and she was like, “Did you finish your test?” I said, “Yes I did.” She said, “Well I'll pull up your test scores and then I'll give you a time when you can come back for your—for the interview.” I said, “Okay.” I didn't even sit down good. This woman came up to me and said, “Ma'am we gonna set you up for an interview at two o'clock.” I was like, “Okay.” “Well you can go and come back.” I said, “No I'll wait because it might happen a little sooner than that, although it didn't. I sat there all that day. So this young man he comes out and he says, “You can come back now. And I go back there and we're talking. And one of the questions he asked me—“What would prevent you from coming to work?” At the time he said that I had this pain in my chest. And I leaned over—I couldn't even talk it hurt so bad. He said, “Miss Mosley you all right?” I said, “Yeah.” I said, “But what would prevent me from coming to work would be my children. My children come before any job. I can get a job, but I can't get another child. Not the ones that I have.” He was like, “Wow, Miss Mosley, I never heard it put like that.” I said, “Well, I'm just going to be straight up with you.” And this pain came back again. He said, “Can you start Monday? I said, “I got the job?” He was like, “Yes ma'am. We would like for you to supervise the young team that's starting to come in.” And they was—I said, “Excuse me?” He said, “Well you were a general manager and you were, you know, da da da.” I said, “Yeah. He said, well you have supervisor—I said, “Okay. If that's what you want me to do that's what I'll do.” So I'm all excited. I got a job for my baby. I got a job for my baby. So I go and I run out to Hutto to tell her godmother Rhonda. I said, “Rhonda, look I got this job,” and that's about four-fifteen and I ride all the way out to Hutto real quick—I get there around four-fifteen. And I say “Rhonda, I got this job at M.C.I., M.C.I. And I want you to know something, You will be going Monday to put in an application so you can be my assistant to help these children.” “Girl, I can't get no job.” I said, “You know I said the same thing and Trella said I was going to get the job, so you going to get the job. I said, “But I got to go. I'm going to go put some meat in the oven because I got to pick up Trella at six. And by this time it’s like, like almost four-thirty. So I said, “Let me go put my meat in and everything and get the house ready, you know, start dinner, rather, and then I'm going to go get Trella.”
So I'm driving home. Kasma had my cell phone because Kasma had her own apartment at that time, with my grandson. So Kasma had my cell phone and she didn't have the charger so the battery went out, okay, but I had my pager on. And I'm driving home from Hutto and my pager just blowing up. I'm like, “What? Who keeps calling me?” The somebody put nine-one-one in there. I pull over to this phone. I answer this phone—I mean I pick up this phone and I dial the number and I say, “Who is this?” It was one of Trella's friends. She's like, “Momma.” I said, “Yeah baby, it's Momma.” “Trella's at Brackenbridge.” She was just crying, crying, crying, crying. I said, “I can't understand because she was Hispanic and she was crying a little harder, and she had breaking English you know. And she said, “Trella's at Brackenbridge.” I said, “For what? Why is she at Brackenbridge?” “Momma she got hurt at school.” I said, “Well, why school ain't called me?” “Momma, momma, but you need to go to the hospital now.” I said, “Okay, I'm on my way.” I said, “But what happened?” All I heard was knife, stabbed. I dropped that phone. I don't even know to this day if I hung it up. I got in my car. I'm on Cameron Road in Round Rock. It's five o'clock. Well, it's not five o'clock yet. It's about four-thirty-five. I made it to the hospital at four-fourty-five. I was driving on the side of the road. I was driving all over the freeway. And when I get there this man, a security guard—I drove up, “Ma'am you can't park there, you can't park there.” I said, “Man, if you don't get out of my face. My daughter's up here, and I don't know why.” “Ma'am you can't park there.” So this officer comes out and he was like, “Are you Miss Mosley?” I'm like, “Yeah, but this man told me I can't park here. I need to get up her and see what wrong with my baby.” He said, “Let her park there. Just leave the car there, watch her car, just leave it there.” I go inside. And when I go inside this place was so crowded. And I'm like dang, this place. And in my mind, I'm like, “This place is full.” So I'm like—Brian come walking up to me. “Hey momma. The media say she gone.” I say, “Boy go on somewhere. Move.” And I look at his mother standing there with him, and all of these other people they just looking at me all over the place and it's like—it's like time had just slowed down. It didn't stop, but it slowed down. So this lady comes walking up to me and says, “Are you Ms Mosley.” I say, “Yes, I'm here to pick up Ortrella Mosley, I'm her mother.” She said, “Well ma'am, she's gone.” Just right off the bat—she gone. I said, “Gone where?” “Ma'am, she's gone.” I said, “Lady, ain't.” And I said it just like that—“ain't nobody got no business coming up here picking up my child. I’m her mother. Who’d y’all let come pick up my baby?” “Well ma’am, we sent her down to the morgue.” I’m like, “What the hell? What you sent her to the morgue for? My baby don’t do that kind of stuff. She’s scared of that kind of stuff, why you going send her to the morgue?” “Ma’am she dead.” Even to this day that still—“Ma’am she dead.” I’m like—“Okay. Okay then. I’m going to go down to the morgue.” “Ma’am, we can’t let you go down there.” I said, “I need to see my child. Somebody better bring my child up here.” Then I look over and I see the big tears. I said, “Where’s Marcus? “Well he’s in one of the rooms. He’s getting some stitches.” I said, “Why is he getting stitches. Well he cut his wrists.” I said, “So he tried to commit suicide?” “Yes ma’am.” “But you saying that my daughter’s deceased so therefore he killed my daughter. He completed her death, but he couldn’t complete his?” Oh, I was upset. I was upset. For a minute I kind of lost myself and then I’m looking at everybody and I’m like, “My baby is what, gone?” So they put me in this room, and when they put me in this room I’m like, “Okay.” So my pager’s still going off. So this lady, Brian’s mother, takes me home and I’m sitting there and Rhonda walks in the door and she says, “As soon as you walked out the door Mama called me and she said they saying Trella was gone.” She turned on the news and she saw it and I’m like, “Oh my God, Kasma.” They had it on the news before we knew it. My oldest daughter found out from watching the news that her sister got killed at school. I was like, “Somebody needs to go and get Kasma, because I didn’t know yet that she had found out.” Kasma was on her way to my house, walking because she didn’t have a ride. But Rhonda got to her and they brought her to the house. And all I could hear my baby saying to me was, “Momma you promised me you was going to get him some help.”
BACON: I’m so sorry to cut you off. We’re going to have to change the tape.
[END OF TAPE ONE]
CAROLYN MOSLEY: Okay. Okay. So when I got home, all of these children were like, “We hate him, we going to kill him. We going to do something to his house. We going do something to his momma’s house. We going to do this that and the other.” And oh, I saw this hatred, I saw so much hatred. But all I could heard was Trella saying, “Momma, can you do something for him? Can you help him?” I’m like, “She don’t want me to do nothing now that he done. You know what he done. I’m sure, you know.” I mean, how can my baby ask me in death to do this? But I kept hearing this voice in my ear—“Help him. Still help him.” I’m like, “What can I do?” So Monday came around and I got up and I went in my baby’s room and I sat down on that bed and I hold poo-poo bear. I was holding poo-poo bear and I was like, “What can I do?” Got up and took me a shower, put me some clothes on, went up to Reagan High School. I told the principal, I said, “I need to talk to these babies. I need to talk to them. So he let me get on this intercom and I just basically talked to them about love. And how Trella was and she don’t want them to act like that. They will not let her death go in vain. She was about love. We’re not going to let them ruin it by hurting people. So I talked to the students and I ended it with saying, “Love around. Love everybody you see. Go home and hug your mommas and your daddies because you may not even be able to go home today.” And then we left. And they were asking me to do all kind of interviews, and, “Oh, what was wrong with her, what was wrong with her?” Because I was like, “I want to do an interview with the parents, with his parents.” Now I still don’t know they have all these issues going on. And to this day we still lost two children. We lost two good children. The person that did that to Trella, I don’t know him. I don’t want to know him. But the person I knew, the person I met, is the only person I know—the one that killed Trella on top of them stairs. So I did interviews with his family, saying we were going to work this out together. Then I discovered what kind of parents they were. See, people thought I had lost my mind. Miss McTear and I, she called me and said, “Carolyn, I really want to go to Trella’s service, but we got so many hatred calls coming in. We got hate mail coming in. If we show up, they’re going to shoot us, they gonna kill us, they gonna do this that and the other, but I really want to come Miss Carolyn.” I said, “Tell you what,” I said, “The car is going to be here at such a time. I think the car was supposed to be there at one.” I said, “You be here at twelve o’clock at my house.” Her and her husband got there. When the car got there, me and Miss McTear, her husband and my husband, my momma and my daddy got in the car together. We rode to the church together. Miss McTear and I walked in the church hand in hand. When we walked in the church, and we were walking in the church, I looked over to the side and I see this man, Kasma’s dad. Now my baby hasn’t seen her daddy in about nineteen years. Trella hadn’t seen her daddy in about twelve years. But her father was at the funeral. And I look over and Kasma’s dad is over there, and I said, “Come on. Come on over here.” Now Kasma’s behind me so she ain’t saw him yet. I said, “Come on.” Kasma saw her daddy, she just cried even harder. This man made all kinds of false promises afterwards. And I asked him, I said, “How did you find out about the funeral?” He said, “Somebody told me that one of Carolyn’s kids got killed and I thought it was my daughter.” How painful is that for his own child to hear? You only came because she’s gone? And as far as Trella’s daddy, same thing. He showed up for everything after she was gone. He even stayed in Austin for three weeks straight when we were going to court. But you couldn’t come and visit her. You couldn’t send him a Christmas card. You didn’t even know what her favorite color was, nor did you know what her favorite fruit was. Do you even remember her middle name? No. So we go inside the church—I’m sorry I veered off for a minute—but we go inside the church. Miss McTear and I—Mister McTear is sitting right behind us. Mister and Miss McTear sat hand in hand through the whole service. So when we left, when the service was over with, I started hearing so many different things about the family. They kind of pierced me in my heart. Not that I had them walking hand in hand, and I basically protected them, but because they was being deceitful to me. And they were being deceitful to me because they were lying to me every time they saw me. Every time they picked up the phone and talked to me they were lying to me. And all I am trying to do is find something to help Marcus with. All that, that didn’t take me away from trying to find some kind of help for him. We went to Marcus’ deposition, because you know, a lawsuit came in regards to Carolyn versus A.I.S.D. I went to every deposition they had because I wanted to find out who my baby really was because I was hearing so much stuff about her. Children have flaws, but everybody loved Trella. So I go to Marcus deposition, and they asked him, “Tell me about that day.” Marcus said when he got to school and I’m putting it all together because I’ve been in every deposition, so I know all the children’s words, all the officers’ words, all the teachers’ words so I know what happened exactly to my daughter that day. Marcus said he got to school, he saw Trella. And Brian was walking her to class because he felt like if Marcus did anything to her, he was going to take care of it. Okay, but see what we did know was in one deposition, Marcus stayed up all night long looking on the Internet for places that you can vitally kill a person instantly. He researched it, premeditated. So Marcus goes to school, and when he goes to school he sees Trella and Brian walking so that just pissed him off. It shouldn’t have—they just friends walking down the road, walking down the hallway. That made him upset. So he caught Trella by herself, pushed her in one of the bathrooms. And when he pushed her in the bathroom, he said, they were fussing and Trella was pretty headstrong in there and she walked out of there. Then he started telling people that he was going to kill Trella before the day was out. Okay. Trella got wind of it, she heard about it. She goes and she tells someone. And this is where teen-dating violence comes in. She goes and tells someone. “Well, if he gets close to you,” this is what an adult told my child, “If her gets close to you, then you come and let us know.” “Okay, okay, if he gets close to me I’ll come and let you know.” That’s calming for a child. But an adult, “What you mean if he get close to me? Dude, if he got close to me, he may kill me. You already got that thought in your mind.” But then knowing the kind of person Trella is—they knew Trella—she just, “Okay.” So she leaves that situation. Children are saying, “Marcus talking about how he going to kill her, Marcus talking about how he going to kill her.” So four o’clock came and see Trella leaves class early because she goes and opens up the dance room, you know to help the children dance. She was the choreographer for the dancing and stuff. So she’s on her way to do that, and when she’s on her way to do that—and this is back into Marcus’ deposition—he says she was talking to a friend of hers who was crying, And the friend was in deposition, and she said Trella saw her crying and she stopped, concerned about why she was crying. Her friend told her, “Marcus said he going to kill you.” In the meantime while she’s sitting there talking to her friend, Marcus walks up behind her. “I just need to talk to you. I just want to talk to you just one time, let’s just talk.” So they go upstairs, They standing there and they talking, And when Trella don’t want to hear you, Trella don’t want to listen to you, She going to turn her back to you, la la la, cover her ears and just sing that little song to herself. Well this time she covered her ears, sung her song, and turned her back to her killer. While her back was turned, he said, he took the knife out of his backpack, and he stabbed her in the left side of her back and it went straight through her heart. And the coroner said she died instantly. But he also added that her will didn’t die. Meaning that last reflex that you have, it didn’t go yet. Trella turns around to Marcus and he says she looked at him as if to say, “Why?” And then Marcus said that he stabbed her in her lungs, so my baby fell to her knees, and she looked up at him and he stabbed her in her right temple, he stabbed her in her left temple and he stabbed her in the crown of her head.
Now the coroner said, there was no way my baby should have even gotten up from that. But he said, Marcus said, while Trella was on her knees, my baby looked up at him, that’s why I love her so much, my baby looked up at him, to him and said, “I’m sorry. I forgive you. You do what you do.” And he said he was just shocked. And she stood up, with five knife, with the first knife still hanging out of her back still stuck in her heart because he had two knives. And he said he reached for the knife that was in the center of her head, and that boy looked at me and he said, “Momma, it wouldn’t come out. So I had to put both my hands on there and pull. And when I did that Trella got up and started running. And when she started running,” I mean and he was talking like he was angry because she got up. “She got up she started running and when she ran, I went to do the knife and then sliced off part of her neck. And so momma I started running after her and I slipped.” “You slipped on my baby’s blood?” And then he said, “She ran.” And they said they measured it, the distance that she ran. She ran the distance of a baseball field trying to get to help. See they had told her, that if he get close to you, come and let us know. With her last breath, she was trying to run to help. She got down one set of stairs, and they said my baby got to the second set of stairs, and by this time it’s just chaotic—children everywhere. Children were running, children were screaming, “Somebody please help Trella. Trella’s in trouble, Trella’s in trouble.” They ran and got Miss Connor, who was her English teacher. That was Trella’s favorite teacher. And Miss Connor said earlier that day in class, she said she looked at Trella because Trella was kind of disturbed, and she say, “Trella, you all right?” Because she know Trella and Marcus go together. And they actually have her class together. And she said she asked Trella, “Are you okay?” She said Trella looked and her and said, “Oh it’s just puppy love. It’ll be all right.” Well Miss Connor runs. She said she was running. She said, “Carolyn, I tried to get to her.” She said, “But I held her. And Trella looked up at me. We couldn’t hear the words but we saw them. And all of her close friends that were right there up on her, right up at her. All of them told me she left me a message. She said, ‘Tell my momma,’ she told Miss Connor. She said, ‘Tell my momma I love her. Just tell my momma and my sister that I love them but I got to go.’” I’m like, “Miss Connor, my baby said that?” She said, “Carolyn, it was so strange. She said, ‘Tell my momma and my sister I’ve got to go.’” And she said it just got quiet in the room—like the heaven doors just opened up for her. She said, “I didn’t hear no more screaming, I didn’t hear nothing.” Everybody in their deposition said the same thing. And I was like, “My baby said she loved me. My baby left me a message.” That’s like more than anything in this world for me because I was always wondering what was going through her mind at that time. What was my baby thinking about? My baby was thinking about her mom and her sister. So, then they asked Marcus, “So what did you do when all of this was happening.” He said, “I looked down and she wasn’t there. So I cut my wrist.” That’s all he had to say. He hasn’t told me he’s sorry. School still ain’t called me and told me my baby’s laying at the bottom of a stairs dead. But they’ll call me and say, “Miss Carolyn, Tralla left her blue and white tennis shoes at the house. Can you bring her her shoes because she is about to have a fit up here?” But you can’t call me and tell me my baby’s at the bottoms of the stairs. One of her classmate has to call me and tell me that. To this day, I’ve yet to get a call from the school saying my daughter’s even hurt. I was like, “Okay Lord, how can I help my daughter’s murderer? What can I do? He never had love until he met me and Trella. I can’t abandon him because in so many ways he’s dead too. He’s dead too—and one day that boy going to be back out on the street. He’ll be back out on the street.” So my journey now is to grant my daughter’s wish. But I went a whole lot further with her wish. I’m going to help Marcus. I’m going to eventually help Marcus. But right now my focus is on the children that are going through the things now that we’re finding out teens go through, and we are now calling it teen dating violence. I’m taking my angel’s love, concern, consideration, passion, forgiveness, and brave heart to the next level. The next level is called the Ortralla LuWone Mosely Foundation Incorporated. And then it’s going to go one step higher than that, and it’s going be Tralla’s house. I’ve been fighting for bills to get passed in regards to teen dating violence. And we got House Bill one-twenty-one passed—that’s for the education in the schools for teen dating violence, and the prevention and the awareness of it. And since we’ve gotten that bill passed the Made Action leaders have appointed me Texas State Action Leader for teen dating violence and prevention and awareness of it. And I am now responsible for every student in the state of Texas to get that knowledge on the prevention and the awareness of teen dating violence and how that is granting my daughter’s wish is because Tralla used to tell me all the time, “Mama I want to be a counselor. I want to be an attorney, and I want to be a doctor.” “Oh my God. How you going do all of that?” “Mama, I’m going to be a counselor, an attorney, and a doctor.” And when she said counselor, she meant a psychiatrist. I’m like, “Okay, Tralla, okay.” While we were getting the bill passed for House Bill one-twenty-one—Dawnna Dukes is the cause of that—she put that bill together for us and she made a statement. She said, “Carolyn, you know how you’ve always said what Tralla wanted to be and what her goals were in life as an adult?” And I am looking at her like, “Yup.” And she said, “Well, I want to let you know that Ortralla LuWone Mosely has achieved all her goals. She is a doctor, because people are being healed. She is a counselor, or an attorney, because laws are being changed in her name. And, she is—she’s a counselor, she’s a doctor and she’s an attorney. So. And she’s—she’s an attorney because things are being changed in her name—.“ I mean, I’m sorry. “She’s a doctor because people are being healed. She is an attorney because laws are being changed in her name, and she’s a psychiatrist because people are getting their minds healed and they’re coming out.” I was like, “I never thought about it like that.” So even in death, Tralla’s still a star. She is still shining bright. So I’m taking all of that, and this foundation is to help teens and tweens, who find them selves in dating relationship abuse. If they feel like they are in an abusive relationship, they can come to Mama for help still. Tralla used to bring all the kids home if they had problems with hygiene, if they had problems with this, if they had problems with that, they’d come home to Mama, and mama going to do what she can to help them.
Now I am living my daughter’s life. I have gone back to school. I am going to school now to be a psychologist. I’m doing—I’m doing a double major. I’m doing a major is psychology and a major in criminal, social criminal justice. So my double major is a bachelor in psychology and a bachelor in social criminal justice. My psychology degree is for my foundation. My social criminal justice degree is for what—The prison—so that I can go into the prison and start counseling individuals that have been in or going through teen dating violence prevention. I’m going to teach them that—teach ‘em some love. That way if I can get it started, then I can help other people start it. And Marcus can get some help. Because I doubt if they’re going to let me counsel Marcus, but if I can get people to catch on to this train and let’s ride this train together, power is in numbers. And just like Tralla said, “Mama, you can do it.” And it happens. So my angel tells me, “Momma you can do it and it’s going to happen.” So, in the process of doing all of this—it’s hard. It’s hard. All I am asking you is for the American people and society to ride the train with us and save the children, because your children are my children. And it’s not because it’s a name, it’s because the love that I have for our children. Because our children are definitely our future and I don’t say that lightly like a lot of people. Our children are our future. No—children are the future. I may be old and crippled, but I need to know I got some responsible people taking care of these individuals, this world out here. So when it’s time for me to sit down, I can sit down in peace, knowing that children are loving each other. So basically, I love the children, and I need support in regards to the Ortralla LuWone Mosely Foundation and Incorporated. Tralla’s House—P.O. Box 143024, Austin TX 78714, office number 512-250-0214. Help us save the children. Thank you.
JEFFERSON: Yeah. I had a couple questions.
CAROLYN MOSLEY: Okay.
JEFFERSON: Did you have to go through a trial for Marcus, and I guess, how was that to kind of relive the experience?
CAROLYN MOSLEY: Going through the trial in regards to Marcus—I went through two trials. One was with his parents, neglect of a child. And it was proven that it was a neglect of a child. That was hard to go through for the simple reason, whatever came out of it, I gave it away because I felt like it was blood money. You can’t pay me enough for my child. But I could tell you what, the year that I received that money, there were a lot of happy faces for Christmas—families that didn’t have Christmas, families that couldn’t have Christmas, families that didn’t have food. My family and friends that was behind on things, I caught them up, helped one of my best friends pay a down payment on her house. I gave it all away. I gave away so much. I’ll tell you what happened to me. I lived in my car for three months because I didn’t have a place to go. I would rather live in my car. I would rather eat after people. I would rather go to truck stops and take my baths— I call them duck baths, wash it off and go. I would rather wait for somebody to get up from their table from their dinner make sure they go out the door, sit down and finish their dinner and just pray to God I catch nothing, than to live off of blood money. So my satisfaction came from giving it away. Then we had the other lawsuit—I take that back, we had three lawsuits. I went—an attorney came to me and said, “We going to sue for twenty-one million dollars.” I said, “Okay, I can start the foundation with that”—that’s what my goals were. But even though Trella’s father wasn’t in her life, Trella would have wanted him to have half of that, even though he maybe just bought her one pair of tennis shoes, maybe two or three cards, throughout her whole fifteen years of life. I had to do what was right. So me and that attorney went to where this man lived and I told him, I said look, “I’m going to be in a twenty-one million dollar lawsuit and Trella would want you to have half of this, and I just wanted you to know what I was doing, so you would know what’s possibly going to come to you.” And you know what his question was to me? “I heard you had another lawsuit and got three-hundred thousand dollars. Where’s my half of that?” So the third lawsuit was, Mosely versus Mosely—I was sued for the ninety-thousand dollars he didn’t get by him. See that’s how the system work—the man ain’t got to be nowhere around, and I’m only speaking of me because I can only speak on my behalf—man doesn’t have to be in your child’s life ever. He doesn’t have to know your child’s middle name, or her favorite fruit, or her favorite vegetable. He ain’t got to know the last time she had to blow her nose. He ain’t got to know the last time she got surgery, she had hernia—he ain’t got to know none of that. But because he is the biological father, he gets half of whatever is given. Mind you, a week before Tralla died she came to me because he finally—she knows that it is not Mama keeping her away from him. She starting to be a little lady so she’s starting to understand that man just ain’t going to come around. She said, “Mama, I need to call Harold.” I said, “What?” She said, “Can you find Harold?” “Yeah, I can get him.” I get the number and I give it to her. She says, “Get on the other line, Mama.” I said, “Trella, what are you gonna do baby?” I said, “Please don’t ask him for nothing. I don’t want to hear him make, him hear—wait a minute. I don’t want to hear him making more false promises to you, sweetie. I can’t do that.” She said, “Mama, I’m not going to ask him for nothing, I just want you to hear what I got to say to him. Two weeks before my daughter was dead—I don’t know if it was two weeks or a week, I’m sorry—but a week or two before she died, Trella talked to her daddy. You see, there’s a difference between a daddy and a father. So she talked to her daddy and her words to him were, “I asked my mother for your phone number just so I could tell you thank you. I want to thank you for being my mother’s sperm donor, so that I may be invented.” I was like, in my mind, “Whoa. What is this girl doing?” And she went on to say, “You’ve done nothing for me. I don’t know you. I used to blame my momma because I thought she wouldn’t bring us around you. But now I am of the age that I know my momma don’t have nothing to do with that. It’s your fault. Momma, I’m sorry. I apologize to you but again thank you for being my sperm donor,” and she hung up the phone. And I’m on the phone with him. I ain’t going to say nothing so I hung up the phone too. I’m not going to say nothing. It’s a done deal. I’m going to hang it up. I hung it up. So mind you, he sued me for ninety-thousand dollars. And guess what? He tried to tell the court that I was an unfit parent. I almost went to jail because I wouldn’t tell them what all, who all I gave the money to. They were going to press charges—the court was going to press charges against me because I would not name the people I donated or gave money to—I’m not going to put them out like that, put me in jail. Do what ya’ll got to do, but I’ve done what I feel good about. And if that makes me have to go to jail, then handcuff me now, send me on my way, I spend my time because he wants to know where the money went, how come I didn’t have no money? First of all, it wasn’t his business. See, what they should have asked was, “Where you been? Why you in the picture now?” Well she—his answer would have been, “Well she came and told me she as gonna have a lawsuit and I was wondering where this other three hundred went—that’s what his answer would have been. It wouldn’t have been, well, “I’ve been in my child’s life all this time, and we are going to work this out together.” So that was one lawsuit, the McTear’s was another lawsuit, and then the school’s lawsuit. When we got that money, guess what? He ended up getting more than me on that. Why? Because he didn’t have attorney fees—I hired the attorney, he didn’t—that’s the way the system work, that’s how it works. You got the attorney you pay the attorney, but he gets his. So basically, nothing. So therefore, in my mind, I was so hurt, not because I didn’t get the money, because that’s not what I wanted. I wanted Tralla’s house. Now I can’t even get Tralla’s house. You know, to be honest, if I got all of it, Tralla’s house would at least be started by now. With the few dollars I got, I was able to pay a month’s worth of bills because things had added up so much. But you know what I am grateful for? It’s one thing that nobody can take from me—the love of my daughter. The fifteen years that I had with her and the positive notes that she said in my head—you can do it. See normally, it’s the other way around—you’re telling your child you can do it, you can do it. And I do. And I did. But I hear it all the time—you can do it. Tralla’s house is coming into focus and it’s not going to take the blood money to do it. So yes, we had three lawsuits.
JEFFERSON: What happened to Marcus, was there a trial with him or did he plea out?
MOSELY: Yes, there was a trial with Marcus and people thought I was crazy about that too. See I promised Tralla I was going to get him some help, right? People were like, “This woman done lost her mind.” They first wanted to try him as an adult. In trying him as an adult, there was a possibility he could have got the death penalty. I don’t have the authority to kill anybody down here on this earth and I am not going to let anybody take the authority in my name or my daughter’s name to kill anybody down here on earth because to me, I would have been just as bad as him. So I pleaded to the court, “That’s a baby. That’s a child. Ya’ll don’t have a child law yet? When you make one, do the next child. But this one, try another child.” That’s was said in force. Right now, follow your own rules. So they did. Now child’s law, they can send them to juvenile until they turn twenty-one. If they show that they have been rehabilitated, they can walk free without paper or anything. They were like, “Carolyn, you’re going to let this boy walk? You going to let him walk after killing your daughter? He going to only be in prison three years and that’s not prison, that’s just like a house, or a group home that he was going to.” I said, “Yeah he is a child. God knows my heart. God knows my prayers.” All of a sudden, it was—his birthday was getting ready to come up. He’s going to turn twenty-one. And in April, they had this emergency court session. I’m like, “What is going on?” They’re going to release him early. I said, “Okay Lord, if this is your wish, then this is what’s going to have to happen. I started getting hate mail. “You crazy. You need to die. It should have been you, instead of your daughter,” this, that, and the other. “You are an inmate lover,” you this and you that. I’m like, “Okay, okay.” I go to court and Judge Merrill was like, “This is the reason why you’re back in court, Mister Marcus—.” Mister Marcus, excuse me. “This is the reason you’re back in court, Mister Marcus. We found that you have little girl’s panties in your room. You seeing little girls.” They put him in a co-ed. They put them in a place where the girls and the boys were together. He was acting out. Because you see, if they put him in an all boys’ place, how you going to know he can deal with the girls? Mamma knows what she doing because she got God on her side. So they found out he was not going to rehabilitate himself. Judge Merrill said, “You want to play big boy games? We going to put you out there with the big boys. You are sentenced forty years in prison.” So that’s how he got a second sentencing because he would not behave. We gave him a chance. And see if I would not have given him that chance in my own heart, I would have always wondered because he with all men now—he with all men. So he with all men, he would have come out, nobody would have known. But see we already know that he wasn’t trying to get right before he went to the big men’s house. So I wanted to see how the big boys treat the little boys. So I became a Texas Correction Officer. Yes. I became a Texas Correction Officer because I wanted to know not only how the little boys were being treated with the big men, but how officers were being treated by inmates. I’ll tell you I went through the roof—went through a lot. People were looking at me, “You ain’t that good.” One guy told me when he got out, he would kill me because ain’t nobody as good as I am. I’m faking. That my daughter deserved everything that she got and if it was her, he’d have f-ed her to the end. Well now I’m an officer, so that’s a terroristic threat, brother. So he got eight years added onto his sentence for that threat to me. But that was just one incident that I went—I got all my clothes stolen twice. I got a ring that I had bought just from Trella stolen from me. I was being sprayed with pepper spray, you know in the midst of everybody else. I’m in the midst—I’m going through all of these things trying to learn how inmates treat officers, how officers treat inmates. And people be like, “You an inmate lover. Even in here, you an inmate lover.” You know why? See my job was to go in there and provide what was necessary to the inmates. Basically, I was a babysitter. That’s my job. That’s what an officer, a corrections officer, that’s what their job is—to babysit. It’s not to go in there and make the prisoner’s life worse because guess what? If you go in there trying to make their life worse, your life is worse off than their’s. So I went in there and I did my job. And if an officer decides they don’t want you to eat today, they throw your tray up against the wall, not on my watch. Not on my watch because you see, I have to sit in this wing with them all night long. So if you throw a tray up, I’m reporting you. So yeah sometime I was called an, “inmate lover.” But then if the inmate did something wrong to an officer, I’m right there. So you can call me what you will. I’m going to do my job wherever I am. And whatever name comes with it, as long as I know, God knows, my supervisors, long as they know Carolyn is doing her job, I’m satisfied. So basically what I learned in there was a whole life lesson. But I’ll tell you something about being in there, you know who your criminals are. I’d hear you don’t know. You don’t know who was around you. But you know in every cell there’s a criminal. You know when you walk in the hallway, there’s a criminal. So you are alert. You’re always watching yourself, you’re always watching your body signs, body signs of this person, that person. I’d hear you get calmer. It’s like, “Oh how you doing?” That man might be just done kill somebody, or he might be fitting to do something to you. So basically you on alert twenty-four seven, but before I went to prison, because that’s what I did—I went to prison. Before I went to prison, I wasn’t on alert. Now I’m on alert twenty-four seven because it’s more dangerous out here than it is in there. But I tell people that they be like, “Carolyn how can you say that?” Because it’s the unknown—it’s the unkown versus the known. And if you don’t know something, your guard is dropped often. But if you know there’s a danger, you going to always be on guard. So basically that’s what prison has taught me. And I’m going to say it like this here—I’m happy I went to prison.
BACON: I wanted to go back a little bit. I’m trying to think of how to put it, but to get beyond everything that happened and to start this foundation and Trella’s house, how did you—what was your support system, I guess. How did you get through this time?
CAROLYN MOSLEY: I was talking early about mean my mother was to me. When my daughter died, my mother and I began to love each other because see now I know how it feels not to have your daughter and I know how it feels to be a mother that has lost a daughter. So now I’m on both ends. My mother and I got together, oh God, my mother and I got together, and Trella died in 2003. And my mother and I got together, and we got to know each other. And my mother told me many things. And my mother told me one day, she said, “Neecy, please forgive me. I am so sorry for all that I have done to you. I didn’t know that you had this kind of love in you. This is what’s been missing in my life. If I would have just embraced it, we would have been better people, huh?” I said, “Momma, forgive me for being rebellious child and not knowing what to look for, but I just know I couldn’t have a family like you had. And I don’t mean that to hurt you. But I know something was out there for me.” Me and my mother—I stayed with my mother for three months. We had the best time and she said, “You ain’t going to never leave me again, right?” I said, “Mom I’ll never leave you.” But I left. I left to go into academy for the Texas Criminal Justice Department. I didn’t want her to know that I was going to the academy part because I didn’t want her to hear a bunch of negative, “Neece please don’t do that. You going to get killer in there, friends or family.” Nobody knew I was in the academy. Nobody knew. A week before it was time for me to graduate—oh I was so happy. I was top of the team. I was the spokesperson for the class. I called my mom. She wasn’t at home. I called her cell phone. My sister answered the phone. “Neecy, Momma in the hospital.” I said, “What’s wrong with her?” She said, “Momma real sick. Momma real sick.” I said, “Can I get on the phone with her?” I said, “Hey momma.” She said, “Hey.” I said, “I didn’t leave you. I didn’t.” I said, “I know I’ve been gone for a long time. But I got to tell you something. I’m a Texas Correction Officer, and I be graduating next weekend. And I was calling to invite you to come.” She said, “Okay, baby.” But then she stopped talking. My sister came to the phone. She said, “Neecy, she fell asleep while you was on the phone with her.” I said, “Okay.” She said, “Neecy she ain’t slept in almost three days. She been in so much pain.” I said, “Okay.” I said, “I’ll call her back tomorrow.” And I called back the next day and they said my momma wasn’t talking. She wasn’t saying nothing. She wasn’t doing nothing. My sister made [INAUDIBLE]. I said, “Please let me talk to her.” She said, “Neecy she can’t talk to you. She can’t talk back.” I said, “Just put the phone to her ear, please.” She put the phone to my mama’s ear. She said—she can move around and stuff, but she wasn’t talking to nobody. And they was trying to get her to go downstairs for a test. She wasn’t trying to go. At this point, I didn’t know that. She put the phone to her, she said. I said, “Momma.” My sister said her eyes bugged. I said, “I love you.” And my sister said she shook her head because she had her on speakerphone. She said she shook her head like, “Yeah.” I said, “Mama please say something to me.” My mom said, “Neece I love you. I love you so much.” And so she gave my sister—my sister took the phone from her because she had tears running down her eyes. And she said all of a sudden my mom put her arms up behind her head and she looked up at the nurses, she said, “Okay I’m ready to go.” And I heard in the background. I said, “Did she say something?” She said, “Neecy, momma said she’s going to go take the test.” I said, “Okay, okay.” I said, “I’ll call you back in a minute.” So about an hour later I called back and they said, they said, “Neecy, she just not saying nothing. I don’t know what happened in that test. But Mama not saying nothing.” And I said, “[INAUDIBLE] put the phone back to her ear.” I said, “Mama I need you to come to my graduation. Mama,” I said. “Baby I’ll be there. I’ll be there.” She started coughing into the phone. And they said she threw up her biles. And she said, “Oh lord.” And they said it got into her lungs. And my momma died.
BACON: You want to take a break?
CAROLYN MOSLEY: I’m okay. I’m okay.
[END OF SECOND TAPE]
CAROLYN MOSLEY: But my support system was my mother. The relationship that she and I got before she died was a gift from heaven. Because that was one of my prayers that she and I got to know each other before either one of us died. Now because of the treatment and the things that went on in my family, my oldest daughter, she didn’t go to her services, because of the hurt that I went through with them, my mom, my family. But me and my mother is what matters. We got a relation—my mother would go to the courts with me, hold my hand, pat me on the back, rub me, love me, things that I didn’t get when I was young. That’s why I tell people value your mothers. I value my dad, but my mother’s the one I had problems with. And I didn’t know the value of a mother. I just knew that I was a lesson that I was trying to get to my children. I’m here for you. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just going to love you. I didn’t get that from my mother until the end because my mother would reach out to touch me when I was younger and I would flinch because I’d think, “I’m going to get slapped.” But before she died, if ever she reached out to me, I was reaching back out to her. So in the end, my mother was my support. After she died, I’ve been by myself. I don’t have anybody else. All I have is my foundation and I pray that Tralla’s house come. That way I can love [INAUDIBLE] children. And I can give out what I’m missing. That’s what I want to do.
BACON: Is there anything that you want to ask?
BACON: Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you want to say, or that we haven’t already said? Anything for the public historical record, and the tapes so when they’re made available to the public—anything that you want to get across to people who might see this interview in the future?
CAROLYN MOSLEY: I would just ask them to go to the website. We have all that information on there. The website is www-dot-ortralla, O-R-T-R-A-L-L-A, foundation.org. And any updates in regards to the archives, any updates in regards to tapings, any updates in regards to news and articles, and any updates to do with Ortralla’s house will definitely be on there.
BACON: Well thank you so much.
[END OF INTERVIEW]