DA won’t seek death penalty in Vail murder case
VAIL, Colorado – Prosecutors won’t seek the death penalty for accused murderer Richard “Rossi” Moreau.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said there is a not a “reasonable probability” that he could secure the death penalty in the case.
Moreau, 63, of Vail, faces a first-degree murder charge in the Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar in West Vail. Gary Bruce Kitching, 70, a Carbondale physician, was killed in the shooting, and three other people were injured.
“The decision does not come lightly,” Hurlbert wrote in a court filing. “It is never easy to decide whether to seek death in a case. The death penalty is the ultimate penalty and should never be taken lightly or rushed into.”
To get a death penalty sentence, prosecutors must prove at least one “aggravating factor” beyond a reasonable doubt, and “mitigating factors” must not outweigh those aggravating factors.
Hurlbert said he consulted with Kitching’s wife, Lani, before making the decision.
In a separate filing Monday, prosecutors said that Moreau’s alleged post-traumatic stress disorder is irrelevant in the case, and evidence relating to PTSD should be inadmissible.
“The people maintain that any mention of post-traumatic stress disorder would be substantially unfair or prejudicial, and likely confuse or mislead the jury,” according to the filing by Assistant District Attorney Steven Mallory.
Moreau has said that the shooting was related to the disorder, according to police reports. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War, military records show.
District Judge R. Thomas Moorhead has not yet ruled on the motion.
A motions hearing in the case is set for Monday.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.