Moreau murder trial begins March 2
Ryan Summerlin February 1, 2012
EAGLE – A murder trial moved from Eagle to Clear Creek County is ready to go, attorneys agreed Wednesday.
Richard “Rossi” Moreau’s first degree murder trial will start on schedule, assuming a jury can be seated, District Court Judge Tom Moorhead said.
More than 450 juror notices were mailed to Eagle County residents. Of those, around 150 reported for jury duty to fill out preliminary questionnaires last December.
However, after two days, the questionnaires indicated that an impartial jury could not be seated in Eagle County, Moorhead ruled.
He ordered the case moved to Georgetown in Clear Creek County.
Clear Creek County jurors will begin filling out their questionnaires March 2. Opening statements are scheduled to begin March 5.
The trial is scheduled for two weeks, although Moorhead said Wednesday it will likely take less time than that.
“A lot of people had heard about it,” said District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, talking about the Eagle County jury pool. “Clear Creek County is two counties over. They don’t get the Vail Daily or any of its sister papers in that area.”
The trial’s location changes, but judge and attorneys for boths sides remain the same. Moorhead will remain the presiding judge. Public defenders Reed Owens and Dana Christensen will argue on Moreau’s behalf, while Hurlbert and Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Mallory will prosecute.
Unlike many of his other court appearances when he was dressed in street clothes, Moreau appeared Wednesday afternoon in his orange jail clothes, orange Crocs and leg shackles. He shuffled into the courtroom from behind a heavy, gray metal door, accompanied by an armed Eagle County Sheriff’s deputy.
Wednesday’s hearing was quick and focused. When it was over, the deputy escorted Moreau back to jail where he has been since Nov. 7, 2009, after police arrested him following a shooting rampage at The Sandbar in West Vail.
Moreau is charged with eight felonies, including first degree murder, for allegedly shooting Dr. Gary Kitching to death and wounding others.
The Sandbar’s security video system captured much of the shooting, showing a man that Hurlbert asserts is Moreau, shooting at victims throughout the bar with a handgun.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.