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Moses Deyell

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Moses Deyell was an African American inmate featured in Oz. He was a Story Arc character in Season 4. Portrayed by Erik King.


While on death row, Moses befriends fellow inmates Nat Ginzburg, an AIDS victim, and even Shirley Bellinger despite her being renowned for holding racist views against blacks. Moses did shows a lot of disdain towards inmate Mark Miles as Miles was on death row for murdering two of his own families in cold blood. (He married a second time after serving time in a psych ward for the first murder.) Miles responds by calling Moses a racial slur, leading both to be constantly at each others' throats. Moses and Shirley Bellinger develop somewhat of an attraction to one another despite her views on African-Americans, and Shirley tries to share a kiss with Moses while being briefly let out of her cell. They are rudely interrupted by a bitter Miles calling their supervising C.O. (Aryan sympathizer Len Lopresti). Some nights, Moses masturbates watching Shirley having sex with Lopresti.

When Shirley is executed, Nat Ginzburg starts to succumb to AIDS symptoms, much to Miles's annoyance who had begun to paint a self portrait on his wall. When Moses shows concern for Ginzburg's well-being, Miles decides to mock Moses with more racist jokes. During one angry attack, Moses punches the wall, breaking his own arm. While being treated for his wounds Moses asks Dr. Gloria Nathan to visit Ginzburg and make her own diagnosis of his condition. She does and tells Ginzburg he'd be transferred to the AIDS ward. Ginzburg however asks for the date of his execution to be moved up instead, which is granted.

Ultimately Ginzburg would die from AIDS days before his execution leaving just Moses and Miles on death row. Moses then meets with his lawyer who had been trying to appeal his case: She informs him that his appeal was denied and that the next step would be to appeal to the state court which could take a year to get processed, angering Moses. His lawyer however also informs Moses that the judge of the state supreme court has prostate cancer and that, with some time, if he dies or retires Moses's case might be viewed differently.

When Moses returns from the meeting Miles takes delight in insulting Moses, using different racist dialects to berate him. Angred, Moses started to dig a tunnel in the wall that divides his and Miles's cells: He had received a pick by black inmate Leroy Tidd during their meal call. Some days before Miles's execution, Moses breaks the wall and strangles Mark to death. As a result his lawyer tells him that his chances of an appeal are gone and even if he were somehow granted one, he would be more likely to face the death penalty for either one or both of his crimes.

Being now the only inmate at Oz on the death row, Moses shows some regret over murdering Miles. Shortly afterwards, insane inmate William Giles is convicted to death for the homicide of his Latino inmate Louis Bevilaqua and is sent to death row. When Giles has to decide how he wants to die, he declares that he wants to be stoned to death. Due the inviability of such a manner of death, Gonvernor James Devlin re-writes the death penalty laws, allowing only lethal injection and electric chair as possibilities.

Giles's sentence is overturned, and he was sent to solitary confinement. Inspired by Giles, Moses meets with Muslim leader Kareem Said and tells him his book changed his mind and he now wants to donate his organs. Moses then meets the blind man who is to receive his eyes and enters a van to go to the hospital. The television news later announces that Moses Deyell died while trying to escape from the moving van.

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