Videos show Vail shooting suspect’s ﬁrst hours in custody
EAGLE, Colorado – Police officers testified in detail Friday about interviews conducted and evidence collected in the wake of a November homicide in West Vail, Colorado.
Public defenders for murder suspect Richard “Rossi” Moreau are trying to suppress the interviews and evidence for the trial, which is expected to begin in September.
In response, prosecutors called as witnesses two Vail Police officers, two Vail Police detectives, an Avon, Colorado, Police lieutenant, three ambulance paramedics and a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent. All but one testified about their contact with Moreau in the hours after the Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar bar and restaurant. One Vail detective testified about search warrants that were prepared to gain evidence.
District Judge R. Thomas Moorhead did not rule on any of the motions Friday except to say he would grant a new bond hearing for Moreau, who is being held without bail in the Eagle County Detention Center. The motions hearing will resume June 10.
Moreau, 63, of Vail, has been charged with eight felonies, including first-degree murder. He faces life in prison without parole.
Gary Kitching, a Carbondale, Colorado, doctor, died after being shot multiple times in the bar. Three other people also were injured in the shooting. It was Vail’s first homicide in 30 years.
Lani Kitching, the widow of the homicide victim, sat in the courtroom gallery Friday, wearing sunglasses and watching the proceedings without emotion. It was the first time she has attended a hearing in the case. Moreau sat at the defendant’s table, wearing a suit jacket, jeans and leg shackles.
Both watched videos, shown by prosecutors, taken from a police car, the Vail jail and an interview room that depicted Moreau talking to police and paramedics hours after he allegedly carried out his shooting spree.
Videos showed Moreau complaining of a shoulder injury as he was booked and put in Cell No. 2 at the Vail jail. He was later brought upstairs and was interviewed by Vail Officer Ryan Millbern and Detective Justin Dill and then a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent, videos showed.
One video showed Dill reading to Moreau a form that advised him of his Miranda rights and Moreau signing it. The following morning, Millbern gave Moreau another Miranda form, which Moreau also signed, a video showed.
Millbern, who first came into contact with Moreau at the Sandbar, testified that Moreau’s statements in the wake of the shooting included “How many people did I kill tonight?” and “I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and I killed people tonight.”
Moreau served in the Army in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, military records show. He has long said that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his time in the service.
In a video shown by prosecutors, Moreau tells Vail Officer Carrie Briggs that he was recently put on a new sleep drug that “flipped me out.”
“I lost it,” Moreau said, according to the video. “I was gone for days. I was bouncing off the walls. My balance was off. It was the wrong stuff.”
Moreau added, “I’m not making any excuses for what I’ve done.”
The defense is trying to get Moreau’s statements suppressed.
Millbern said that Moreau was already being eyed by Vail Police prior to the incident because of previous weapons incidents.
“There’s a list of folks in your community that senior officers tell you to be aware of,” Millbern said.
Defense attorney Reed Christiansen questioned Vail Detective Jessica Mayes, who took the witness stand, about her motivations for preparing search warrants for Moreau’s house and car. Christiansen zeroed in on the warrant to search the car, which in places cites the home instead, something that authorities say was an honest error.
“It was just a mistake,” Mayes said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or email@example.com.