Moreau murder trial begins next week
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – More than two years after Richard “Rossi” Moreau was arrested and charged with eight felonies, including first-degree murder, in a shooting at the Sandbar in West Vail, the trial is finally set to go on as scheduled next week. The jury selection process begins this Friday.
Moreau was in court Monday afternoon with his public defenders for a pre-trial readiness conference. He wore a brown jacket, blue dress shirt, blue jeans and brown boots. He sat with his lawyers, Reed Owens and Dana Christiansen, calmly chatting before the hearing began.
District Court Judge R. Thomas Moorhead didn’t rule on the two primary topics of Monday’s conference, which included the Vail Daily’s request for expanded media coverage for audio and still photography, as well as defense objections to a motion filed by the prosecution. Moorhead said he would rule on the media coverage by Friday, and the objections by Monday morning.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Mallory are requesting that their expert witness, state psychiatrist Dr. Richard Pounds, be allowed to sit in on the trial during the testimony of the defense’s expert witnesses, whom are also psychologists and/or psychiatrists.
Hurlbert argued Monday that Pounds needs to be able to rebut what defense experts say on the stand, and since Hurlbert and Mallory lack a psychology background, they might miss something important that could be used for rebuttal.
“Mallory and I are not psychologists,” Hurlbert said.
Owens argued that because Pounds was the state doctor who evaluated Moreau, his position as the prosecution’s expert witness “muddies the waters.”
Moorhead said he needed to review a case for precedent before making his ruling on the matter.
The trial, which was originally set to begin Sept. 20, 2010, was postponed on three separate occasions in order to give both the district attorneys and the public defenders time to build their cases. The delays were all related to expert witness testimony – first because the defense needed time for its experts to prepare their reports, and next because of delays with reports from the court-ordered state mental health evaluation.
Moreau is charged with eight felonies, including first-degree murder, in the Nov. 7, 2009 incident. Dr. Gary Kitching, of Carbondale, was killed as his wife, Lani Kitching, hid from the shooter just a few feet away.
Moreau entered a plea of not guilty in the case, and his defense attorneys have said they will be introducing evidence of Moreau’s mental condition during the trial. Moreau has claimed that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his military service in the Vietnam War.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.