Mental Health Issues Plague Richard Moreau's Murder Trial in Vail

February 2011

Longtime Vail resident Richard Moreau was charged with first-degree murder for killing a Carbondale man more than a year ago at a West Vail bar. It was the first homicide in the exclusive resort town in three decades, which we investigated at length in November 2010. Moreau has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and seven other felonies, and he waived his right to a speedy trial last August. The path to his day in court has been rocky ever since.

Although Moreau's lawyers have said insanity is not part of their defense, delays have been granted so their mental health experts would have time to evaluate Moreau, a Vietnam veteran who says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. "I told the VA this was going to happen...The VA didn't listen...If they lock me up, I'm going to kill myself...The only thing I care about is my four cats," Moreau told the prison guard the night of his arrest.

The questions surrounding Moreau's mental health came into play once again recently, when he was in an Eagle County courtroom for a pretrial hearing. The Vail Daily reports the court ordered Moreau to undergo an evaluation at a Colorado state mental health facility in addition to being examined by the defense's experts. Moreau's lawyers now say they may request a change of venue for the trial, contending the DA has attempted to influence potential jurors by including information from mental health reports—which are not available to the public—in its court-filed motions, knowing local media would quote them. The district attorney denies the claims of colluding with media, the Daily also points out.