Federal prosecutors call Epps a cold-blooded killer who murdered his fiancee,
The decision on Epps' fate rests with U.S. District Judge
It's a tricky and unusual decision for Arcara, who has to decide whether Epps should be punished as a murderer, even though he's never actually faced trial for murder.
After a jury trial in
According to federal prosecutors
"The defendant carefully planned the murder of
Violanti said federal sentencing guidelines -- which are only advisory -- suggest that Arcara should sentence Epps to 120 years in prison. In essence, Violanti said, that would be a life sentence. In light of the viciousness of the slaying, Epps' lack of remorse and the many other crimes he has committed, federal prosecutors have asked Arcara to sentence Epps to life.
"The Defense argued that someone other than
Buth said she believes the murder of Moss may have been linked to a dispute involving a
She said an associate of the biker gang, who knew Moss, was murdered two nights before Moss was killed. Law enforcement officials said they do not believe the biker dispute had any connection to Moss' death.
Why was an alleged murderer targeted for an insurance fraud prosecution?
Murder is a state crime, and the county's top prosecutor at the time -- former
Hochul, who was out of town and could not be reached on Friday, called Epps "a sinister individual" after his conviction last year.
In papers filed with Arcara, Marangola called Moss "a completely innocent victim" who was loved by "family, friends and co-workers."
Epps "executed her for money, plain and simple," Marangola told the judge. "In the days following her murder, he showed absolutely no remorse. He immediately attempted to collect the insurance proceeds, retrieve
Meanwhile, she said, Moss' family and friends have been "devastated" by her murder.
When Epps met with an insurance agent to discuss collection of the
In addition to insurance fraud, federal jurors convicted Epps, formerly of
Before any of that happened, Marangola said, Epps was already on probation because of a long list of previous criminal convictions, including several drug-related convictions, a firearms conviction and an assault "where the defendant shot an individual in the chest with a shotgun."
"This pattern of criminal conduct throughout his entire adult life and committing this offense while on probation demonstrates a blatant disregard for the law," Marangola said.
Buth told the judge that, at Epps' age, a sentence of 35 years is "in effect, a life sentence."
"As the Court will recall, the
And even if Sedita's office had convicted Epps of a state murder charge, "the maximum sentence would be 25 years to life," Buth wrote. "That is a sentence that would be less than the mandatory 35 years that the Court must impose here."
Marangola said there are "no words" to describe the pain that Epps has caused for Moss' family.
"A mother should never have to bury her child, but to do so under these circumstances is unimaginable," she told the judge.
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