Vail shooting case moves to District Court
January 29, 2010
EAGLE – An Eagle County Court judge ruled Thursday that there is probable cause that Richard “Rossi” Moreau committed eight felonies, including one count of first-degree murder.
The decision by Judge Katharine Sullivan means the case moves to the courtroom of District Judge Thomas Moorhead.
Moreau’s first hearing in District Court will be Feb. 3.
Moreau, 63, of Vail, is charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault and two counts of felony menacing in the Nov. 7 shooting at the Sandbar in Vail.
Gary Kitching, a Carbondale doctor, died in the shooting. It was Vail’s first homicide in 30 years.
During a day-long preliminary hearing Wednesday, prosecutors interviewed three witnesses and showed video footage from security cameras that depicts the shootings. The video allegedly shows Moreau sitting on the floor as he shoots Kitching multiple times.
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Kitching had re-entered the emptied bar to try to find his wife, who was hiding under a coffee table, a police detective testified. Moreau had already shot three others in the preceding minutes, prosecutors say.
Reed Owens, a public defender who is representing Moreau, declined to comment on the judge’s ruling Thursday.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he was pleased with the decision.
The preliminary hearing is meant to allow the defendant to challenge whether the prosecution has enough evidence.
The standard of proof for a preliminary hearing is lower than it is in a trial. Prosecutors have to prove that “evidence is sufficient to permit a person of ordinary prudence to reasonably believe in the defendant’s guilt.”
Hearsay evidence is permitted, though some non-hearsay evidence must be presented as well. Evidence in the hearing is viewed “in a light most favorable to the prosecution.”
In District Court, there will likely be several months of pre-trial motions in the case. Those motions would relate to which evidence would be permissible in a trial.
A trial is still several months away, Hurlbert said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.