OPELOUSAS — Hank Moran’s statements to Opelousas police right after allegedly stabbing his wife multiple times in 2013 were unquestionably bizarre, and incriminating. Among them: “I killed her but I loved the (woman)” and “I can’t wait to kill again.”
Now Moran is asking a judge to keep those statements out of his eventual first-degree murder trial.
Moran in a motion asks 27th District Judge Gerard Caswell to suppress the things he said right after Constance Moran was killed at the couple’s South Railroad Avenue home on the morning of Oct. 8, 2013. She was the victim of at least 14 stab wounds from the knife her husband was holding when police walked into their bedroom and found a bloody mess.
Moran, in late May, also asked Caswell for a mental examination. Moran, who was 44 when his wife was killed, claims in court papers that he might have been affected by drugs or “insane” during the attack on Constance Moran, who was 56.
A St. Landry Parish grand jury indicted Moran on one count of first-degree murder in November 2013, weeks after he described the killing to Opelousas police. Sgt. Crystal LeBlanc, who wrote the report, said Moran made the statements that day without being asked.
What Moran told police could be damning in a trial: “The last thing she told me was that she loved me, I looked at her straight in the eyes and said I love you too baby. Then I jugged (stabbed) her straight down in her esophagus,” Moran told police, according to the arrest affidavit. As police escorted a handcuffed Moran by his wife’s body, he looked at her and said, “I’ll bet now she’ll listen,” according to the affidavit.
Moran, who apparently is now representing himself, says in his handwritten motion that his statements to police were not given “freely and voluntarily, but were made under the influence of fear, duress, intimidation, menaces, threats, inducements and promises … without (Moran) having been advised of his rights to remain silent, right to council (sic), etc.”
Calls made last week and on Wednesday seeking comment from Moran’s latest court-appointed attorney of record, Frank Olivier, were not returned. It was unclear whether Olivier was still involved in the case.
Constance Moran was bludgeoned to death after she placed a 911 call to alert police that her husband was choking her. She said Moran was irate because she told him she wanted out of the marriage.
But the officer who responded to the call arrived after Hank Moran had left. The officer searched the home and then a nearby park where Hank Moran sometimes went to gather his thoughts. Finding no sign of Moran at the park, he returned to the home. It was too late.
“I waited under the house until y’all left then I kicked the door and commence to juggin’ (stabbing) her,” Hank Moran told police at the time.
Moran remains incarcerated in the Pine Prairie Correctional Center. Last Friday, he was scheduled to be in Caswell’s courtroom for a hearing on his motion to suppress his statements, but the hearing was delayed.
A status hearing is scheduled for July 9 in Caswell’s courtroom, according to the St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.
District Attorney Earl Taylor on Oct. 10, 2014, filed a notice that prosecutors would seek the death penalty for Moran. Just over a month later, on Nov. 21, the District Attorney’s Office reversed itself and took the death penalty off the table.
Assistant District Attorney Alisa Gothreaux, who is prosecuting the case, did not return calls last week and on Wednesday.
Moran also is asking Caswell to appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate him. In the handwritten motion, Moran said a psychiatrist could examine him for “mental disease, defect, (whether temporary or permanent), … unconsciousness, intoxication, or any other condition” to determine if Moran “at the time of the alleged offense was insane or temporarily insane by reason of mental defect or conditions due to a mixture of both prescribed medications and illegal drugs.”
Except for the days immediately following the killing, when Moran was on suicide watch in the St. Landry Parish Jail, he has been held in the Pine Prairie jail.