SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Bail was set at $7 million Saturday for a man accused of killing seven people, including his girlfriend and her five children who were bludgeoned to death in their sleep with a hammer.
Adam Matthew Moss, 23, stared at the floor as he appeared before Woodbury County District Judge John Nelson.
Seven first-degree murder accusations were detailed in complaints filed by county prosecutors, who said formal charges would be filed this coming week. If convicted of a single first-degree murder charge, Moss would face life in prison; Iowa does not have the death penalty.
No motive was given for the killings.
Moss showed no reaction in court and never raised his eyes.
The judge said Moss is accused of going into the home of his girlfriend, Leticia Aguilar, late Monday or early Tuesday, while she and her children were sleeping.
He is accused of beating each of the children to death with a hammer while they slept, then going to Aguilar’s room, cutting her throat and beating her in the face with a hammer, Nelson said.
The bodies of Aguilar, 31, and Claudia, 12; Zach, 11; Larry, 9; Lisa, 7; and Michael, 6, were found Thursday evening by a babysitter who dropped by to see why the children had failed to show up at her home after school.
About the same time, the body of Ronald Fish, 58, owner of a tire store and service station, was found at his home some two miles away. Moss also is accused of stealing Fish’s car.
Fish was attacked with a hammer and a knife late Wednesday or early Thursday, authorities said.
Following an all-night search, Moss was arrested Friday. He was found hiding behind a pile of plywood outside a shack that police had been watching, police chief Joe Frisbie said.
The judge said a public defender would be appointed for Moss.
Neighbors said Moss could be friendly and helpful but had a history of violence. His own brother had filed a restraining order against him in August claiming Moss had threatened him and his fiance. His mother said a former girlfriend, with whom he had a 4-year-old daughter, also had a restraining order against him.
Fred Scaletta, spokesman for the Iowa Corrections Department, said Moss was sentenced to a year of probation in 1995 for assault. The next year, he was placed on two years’ probation for burglary and theft.
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