Vail murder trial jurors to report Dec. 2
EAGLE, Colorado – Richard “Rossi” Moreau is back in town and Wednesday sat calmly at the far right end of the defendants’ table in District Court, dressed in a suede sport coat, well-polished cowboy boots that were shackled together on a chain, new blue jeans and a crisp, light-blue denim shirt.
To his left were public defender Reed Owens and chief public defender Dana Christensen, who will argue on Moreau’s behalf.
On the other side sat District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and Assistant District Attorney Stephen Mallory, who will argue that the accused murderer should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The jurors who make that decision will start reporting Dec. 2.
Moreau was polite during Wednesday’s hearing. He recently returned from an evaluation at the Colorado Institute of Mental Health in Pueblo. When asked Wednesday, defense attorneys would not immediately say how that evaluation went.
As he left the courtroom, Moreau smiled and thanked the deputy who held the heavy steel door for him as he walked past the jury box where 12 jurors and two alternates will hear evidence and decide his fate.
The deputy escorted him back to jail, where he has been since Nov. 7, 2009, when police arrested him following a shooting rampage through the Sandbar in West Vail.
Moreau is charged with eight felonies, topped by first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Dr. Gary Kitching to death and wounding others.
A deep jury pool
District Court Judge Tom Moorhead is hearing the case. He said they’ll send notices for 450 prospective jurors to report Dec. 2 and an additional group for Dec. 5.
If you’re called, you’ll fill out a jury questionnaire. If you make the cut for the first round, you’ll be questioned by the attorneys on Dec. 5. Questioning could last an hour for both the prosecutors and defense, Moorhead said during Wednesday’s hearing.
Each side gets 10 automatic challenges to prospective jurors.
Hurlbert said prosecutors expect to start presenting evidence Dec. 6.
Opening statements could run as long as an hour, and the trial is scheduled to last two weeks.
If you’re selected, you’ll show up by 9 a.m. and listen to evidence and arguments through a mid-morning break. Around 12:30 p.m. or so, Moorhead will send everyone to lunch. There’ll be a mid-afternoon break, and they’ll try to close business by 5 p.m.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.