Moreau gets life plus 80 years for Vail shootings
EAGLE, Colo. – Richard “Rossi” Moreau showed no remorse in the courtroom Wednesday as his victims spoke of the damage he caused. He sat expressionless as District Judge R. Thomas Moorhead chastised him for his lies and then sentenced him to life without parole plus 80 years.
For the first time throughout more than two years of hearings and a two-week trial earlier this month in which he was convicted of the first-degree murder of a Carbondale man, plus seven other felonies, Moreau spoke to the court, but his words did nothing to help clear his name or apologize to his victims.
Rather than take the opportunity to show remorse, Moreau, who was dressed in an orange Eagle County jail jumpsuit and was shackled at the ankles, chose to say that it wouldn’t do any good.
“I could apologize – I could talk until the cows come in – it’s not going to change what happened to the victims, Mrs. Kitching and (her) family,” Moreau said.
Moreau, instead, talked about himself – about the struggles he claims to have faced and about his disgust with “my government, the Veterans Administration and the justice system.”
His statements seemed to reveal the very narcissism that forensic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Pounds, who did a court-ordered mental health evaluation on Moreau, testified about.
Moreau spoke of his ailing shoulder on the night of the shooting and about the pain he felt while in the Vail Police Department’s interrogation room. He continued to maintain that he doesn’t remember what happened that night.
“As far as grief goes, I’ve had my own personal grief and loss, I’ve had people taken away from me quickly,” Moreau told the court. “Like I said, you could put me in jail for 1,000 years, it’s not going to bring anybody back to life, that’s for absolutely sure, and it’s not going to bring anybody I wounded back to normal again. I totally accept the fact that I shot people, but I can only say that I do not remember what happened.”
The statement disgusted Moorhead, who before reading Moreau’s sentence spoke of the “overwhelming” evidence in the case.
“I think the evidence did not support, does not support, post-traumatic stress disorder,” Moorhead said. “I think Dr. Pounds was very concise, his evaluations were appropriate and that there is not any mental disease that offers any lessening of the responsibility of the defendant.”
Moorhead continued to say that Moreau has never shown remorse for his actions. Moorhead then looked up at Moreau and added, “including today.”
“It was almost a distasteful curiosity when (Moreau) was asking police, ‘How many have I killed,'” Moorhead said. “It was repugnant when he continued to use the pun ‘shoot’ when talking to the police in the statements he gave. He clearly showed that he, in fact, did remember what occurred though he continues to say he has no memory of it when he offered (during the interrogation), unsolicited, ‘I don’t even remember reloading,’ when that had not been previously mentioned at any time.”
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert told the court earlier that as Moreau was being transported back from the state mental health evaluation in Pueblo, as the vehicle passed the Sandbar, Moreau said, “Let’s stop and have a drink at the Sandbar.”
“This is somebody that has shown no remorse for the crime, for the death of a human being and the near-death of two others,” Hurlbert said, adding that he deserves no leniency.
The pain in the courtroom Wednesday hadn’t been eased since Nov. 7, 2009, when Moreau shot four people in the Sandbar in West Vail, killing one. While Lani Kitching, the widow of Carbondale victim Dr. Gary Kitching, who was killed that night, remained strong as she read her statement to the courtroom, her pain was obvious.
She thanked those involved in prosecuting Moreau, including the first responders, witnesses, Moorhead, Hurlbert and Chief Deputy District Attorney Steven Mallory, the jurors and others. She thanked the taxpayers, victim services advocates and Pounds.
“And lastly, to my dear husband, whose presence in the courtroom he graced us with despite his physical absence – I miss you,” she said.
Her stepdaughter, Allison Kitching, spoke on behalf of the people who miss her father, she said. She also spoke of the things her father will miss, including his love for the outdoors, his family and his “hard-earned retirement.”
“Dad will miss being here with Lani, continuing to enjoy their love for each other and their adventure-filled life,” Allison Kitching said. “… The last decisions he made exemplified his personal code of honor and how he lived his life when, as a physician, he attended to a gun shot victim, and, as a husband, he placed himself at risk in an effort to save his wife.”
Gunshot victim James Lindley, who spent nearly two weeks in a coma after the shooting, remained angry by the events of that night. Lindley spoke of his own father, a World War II veteran who “lived an honorable life.”
“This guy who shot me, he used his military experiences as an excuse and I think he’s basically a disgrace to the uniform of war,” Lindley said. “Basically he’ll be known for what he is, a coward, and that’s all I have to say.”
Defense Attorney Dana Christiansen filed a motion for the appointment of public defenders, implying that he and fellow public defender Reed Owens will be filing an appeal.
Rest areas and recreation facilities along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, including boat put-ins, trails and the paved bike path, have been routinely closed to nonpermit public use during flash flood watches.
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