Moreau jurors say there was too much evidence
Ryan Summerlin March 17, 2012
GEORGETOWN, Colorado – The mountain of evidence against Richard “Rossi” Moreau finally sent him to prison for life, jurors said after they handed down their guilty verdicts late Friday night.
“The preponderance of all the evidence is what sealed it,” said Paul Boat, one of the jury of eight men and four women.
The two-week trial saw Moreau convicted of all eight felony charges he faced, topped by first-degree murder. That murder conviction means Moreau, 64, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Jury foreman Kevin Kuharic at times had his hands full with the panel, jurors said.
“He did a wonderful job keeping us focused and moving forward,” juror Jill Wichmann said.
The jury was of varying opinions about deciding the eight felony counts.
Some said they were so convinced, they wanted to vote the moment they got the case at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
Others said they weren’t so sure and wanted to talk about it, so they did. Eventually, some of them wanted to see the video of Vail police detectives Justin Dill and Ryan Millbern interrogating Moreau.
They’d seen the 31⁄2-hour video straight through already and bits of it through the two-week trial as various witnesses testified.
But few minds remained unsettled about whether Moreau was mentally stable.
The jury was told from the beginning that Gary Kitching was shot to death and that Rossi did it, said public defender Dana Christiansen, who represented Moreau.
“The issue is whether Rossi had the culpable mental state,” Christiansen said.
He did, jurors decided after watching the interrogation video again.
“With so many points requiring a decision, we felt it would be helpful to look at it one more time,” said Hilary Williamson, another juror.
Moreau was certainly profane (he dropped more than 200 F-bombs while being interrogated), they noticed, but also self-absorbed – “narcissistic,” as one expert witness labeled Moreau.
“It showed Moreau was trying to make his own case,” Boat said. “He really hurt himself in that video.”
“Not once did he say, ‘If I hurt those people, is everyone else OK?'” Boat said.
Moreau’s narcissism, his language and his demeanor all worked against him, jurors said.
They said they didn’t believe Moreau’s stories that he might have suffered a seizure or a small stroke – his left arm was in a sling the morning after the shootings, something he said might be evidence of that small stroke.
They also said they didn’t believe Moreau’s story about having suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder blackout.
The eyewitness testimony was powerful, jurors said, and the expert witnesses did exactly what they were supposed to do – either convince them that Moreau was not mentally culpable to understand what he was doing or that he was.
“We kept an open mind but did vacillate when the expert witnesses were brought in to testify,” Williamson said.
In the end, they weighed all the evidence and said the testimony of Dr. Richard Pounds, a forensic psychiatrist who did a court-ordered profile on Moreau, was clearer.
Pounds rejected the post-traumatic stress disorder claims Moreau and others had made about Moreau.
Instead, Pounds said Moreau has a narcissistic personality disorder, a finding that jurors said matched their own opinions.
One juror said he had written “narcissist” in his notebook last week during the trial’s early stages.
Pounds didn’t re-diagnose the defendant. He took the information he gathered and came up with his own definitions and decisions, Williamson said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.