By JODI-ANN MALARBE
The defendant charged with killing and cutting up his former girlfriend took the stand in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Thursday to tell his side of the story.
Somorie Moses, 43, faced questioning by both his defense team and the prosecution on his involvement in the murder and disposal of his late girlfriend Leondra Foster
“I didn’t kill her. I didn’t know she was going to die,” Moses testified as he proclaimed his innocence in Foster’s death. “We had arguments, we acted like children, we were in love.”
With Foster’s family and friends present, Judge Ruth Shillingford issued a warning to the courtroom before the defendant was sworn in to testify.
“There are faces being made,” she sternly admonished the listeners. “I can see, the jury can see. And no one wants a mistrial on this case.”
The questioning began with Julie Clark, Moses’ defense lawyer who cued the witness to be frank about his profession.
“I’m a pimp, I’ve been a pimp about twenty year,” Moses said. “I don’t date good girls; I don’t date women who are not prostitutes.We call the life a game…women, jewelry, drugs.”
Moses testified to meeting Foster around 60 days after his release from a prior imprisonment. They had both attended a party at a social club, Boss Rollers, that the defendant ssaid mainly dealt with cars “charities, parties”, but was later identified by the prosecution as a club with ties to soliciting, including several members who were either pimps or prostitutes, although Moses said he was unaware of that fact. Foster, who had been at the event with someone else, quickly left with Moses after seeing his connection to others at the event, including a man whose life he saved while in prison.
“I went inside to talk to some people … and Leondra was getting in my car,” he recalled. This led to a complicated personal and professional relationship after Moses took up residence with Foster in a life that included a lot of drugs, alcohol, disagreement and abuse.
“Me and Lili use to roll all the time” Moses said using his nickname for Foster. “We drank, smoked drugs and indulged in a lot of ecstasy.” Foster introduced the defendant to her way of doing their “lifestyle” including using back page, a website for prostitution and other “dark world” activities, the defendant said.
“I had a lot of apprehension about how she moved,” he continued. “Lili had never been to prison she didn’t know what was dangerous,” he added.
The defendant testified that their lifestyle soon led to violence.
“Lili was like a good hearted person if you needed a place to stay,”he added. But this often led the defendant and Foster into arguments that could quickly turn violent “I smacked Lili around… I caused some…black eyes.”
Moses tried to rebut testimony given recently by a former friend Rasheen Stanley who helped dispose of the victim’s body parts under threat, Stanley alleged.
“Growing up in the ghetto your friends are usually guys you fight.” said Moses on the violent nature of his and Stanley’s relationship, “I grew up with him…we went to high school together.”
The vein of testimony continued: “He just moved on the block… I snapped at him about his clothes as I turned to walk away… he choked me out.” This referred to an incident Stanley had described of Moses hitting and scarring Stanley’s head with a glass bottle when they were kids.
Stanley had testified about his role in dumping Foster’s remains.
Moses denied that he threatened Stanley, portraying him as willing to help.
“I didn’t have to… that’s my friend we grew up together…that would be crazy,” Moses said breathily, as he choked up.
But while Moses testimony showed a different side to his friendship with Stanley, his relationship with Foster often involved instances of severe abuse, including on the night of her murder.
“I smack[ed] her I might have struck her four or five times across her face front hand and back…” Moses said. He added that arose from anger over her not calling him when a “date” with a foot fetish client turned violent.
Moses had returned from a drug run and passed out in the couple’s bedroom, after downing several ecstasy pills, when the foot fetishist was in another room.
The defendant remained in and out of conciseness before fully waking up after hearing disturbing noises coming from the living area, where he knew Foster had her date were.
“I’m hearing like a whacking sound or squishing sound… then I hear a scream…muffled from her,” he testified. This led Moses to jump up, grab an unregistered gun and confront the attacker. He said the client also had weapon.
“I go into the room and tell him I am going to ‘buss ya head in,’” Moses testified. “I punch him in his ribs and hit him on the back of the head and I am stomping on him… then I rob him.”
But after he finished, kicking the client out, he turned his anger on Foster for not calling on him, since she was aware he had returned from his drug run.
Moses then testified that Foster went to take a shower where Moses described hearing a series of thuds from the bathroom as he is on the phone with a friend
“I hear a series of bumps like somebody fell.”
When he went to the bathroom to investigate he found her slumped over the tub, that he helped her up but she fell again hitting the porcelain and causing a gash to open on her head. He testified that she seemed to suffer a seizure to he then did a Google search for the cause of such a condition.
“I wanted to know how I could help her,” he said. But he decided against calling 911 due to past criminal history and fear of going back to prison
She soon expired, Moses testified.
But Assistant DA Sabeeha Madni was was not buying his story. She questioned how he had passed out since Ecstasy was an upper. Moses replied that it was due to a lack of sleep.:“I had been up for two day…everything looked like a cartoon… I[was] about to crash.”
Madni introduced several phone texts from the victim that showed the high level of violence in their relationship, portraying how he beat her with a belt, put a bag over her head and locked her in a closet and other acts of violence. Other texts showed the defendant calling the victim “a snitch and a rat” and threatening to “get her” “and not how you expect.”
“You beat me with a belt put a bag over my head and put me in a closet” said Foster in the several texts sent over the course of her and Moses relationship. Others of which include messaged threats from the defendant calling the victim a “snitch and a “rat” and claiming he would get her “and not how you expect.”
The prosecutor also punched holes in his story about how she died, asking him why instead of dialing 911 he didn’t call a friend for help. Instead, she pointed out, he decided to “burn or destroy” the rest of Foster’s remains and skip town, before being arrested with Foster’s body parts still in his freezer.
“The woman you love[d], were going to marry…she’s dead… and you did nothing to help her,” said Madni on cross-examination.
The trial was expected to resume Monday with the jury deliberating the defendant’s fate.