TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Richard Atkisson, 40, with two counts of aggravated murder in the first degree for beating Joseph Mosia, 66, and Michael Henderson, 20, to death inside their Spanaway home. The only two possible sentences are the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Under state law, the Prosecutor has 30 days to make a decision on the death penalty.
On August 17, 2014, a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy went to Joseph Moisa’s Spanaway home to confirm the sex offender was living at his registered address. The front door to the residence was open, and the deputy found Mr. Moisa’s severely beaten body inside the door. Inside, deputies also found Mr. Henderson’s body, which had been beaten and was covered in blood. A plastic bag was secured over his head and the bag appeared to be full of liquid.
Later that evening the Tacoma Police Department located Mr. Atkisson next to Mr. Moisa’s car near the intersection of 96th Street and Hosmer. Mr. Atkisson had Mr. Moisa’s identification in his pocket. Mr. Atkisson told detectives that he decided that he was going to kill both men. He said that he thought about it and planned it for a day, and killed the men the following day. According to Mr. Atkisson, he used a pipe about half the size of a baseball bat to beat Mr. Moisa and Mr. Henderson. He claimed he was, in part, motivated by the sexual activities of his roommates. He also said he had no regrets.
“Though the defendant’s motives are murky, the premeditation and brutality are clear,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
Mr. Atkisson is a convicted sex offender. He had a felony warrant out of Tulare County for violating his supervision. Mr. Atkinson was required to register as a sex offender in California, but had failed to do so. He was convicted of Burglary in the First Degree in 1992, he was convicted of Rape by Force, Sodomy, and Robbery in the Second Degree in 1993, and he was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in 2011. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the 1993 Rape conviction.
Mr. Atkisson was arraigned this afternoon by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Martin and ordered to be held in-custody without bail pending trial. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant to Prosecutor Mark Lindquist