SPRINGFIELD — Kim Moretz was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison, and another five years of probation, following her conviction in concealing the death of Charlie Ray III.
She did not address the court and showed no reaction to receiving her sentence, other than responding “yes” to Judge Gates Peed’s question if she understood it.
Her husband Chad Moretz killed Ray in the Moretzes’ Westwood Heights home in Rincon last January and then dismembered the body, placing body parts in their home and in a South Carolina storage unit. Chad Moretz was later shot and killed in a standoff with police.
Jurors deliberated for about three hours after Kim Moretz’s three-day trial concluded Feb. 8. The jury of eight women and four men found her guilty also of hindering apprehension, but not guilty of tampering with evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Deal asked Judge Peed to give Moretz the maximum sentence, 15 years in prison. He pointed to testimony that Moretz rented the storage unit under her name and gave several false statements to police in the days following Ray’s death.
In conversations with Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Investigator James Coleman, Moretz maintained that she had not seen Ray since dropping him off at a gas station in Savannah. She became defensive when Coleman said he didn’t believe her story.
“We’ve seen little remorse from Mrs. Moretz in this trial,” Deal said at the sentencing. “The only emotion she showed was when she was backed into a corner.”
Though Kim Moretz drove Ray from Wilmington Island to the Moretzes’ home in Rincon, defense attorney Michael Schiavone contended she had nothing to do with his violent death. Schiavone stated that Moretz lived under the control of her abusive husband.
“Her only crime is that she was married to Chad Moretz,” Schiavone said. “She didn’t decide one day, ‘I’ll go pick up Charles Ray and have my husband kill him and cut him up.’”
The victim’s father, Charlie Ray Jr., attended the end of Wednesday’s hearing, but did not address the court regarding Moretz’s sentencing.
“I had nothing to say to her,” he said afterward. “I learned a long time ago, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”
Ray told reporters that, when Chad and Kim Moretz were charged in his son’s death, he “knew who they were.” He said Charlie Ray III met Kim Moretz approximately two years ago when he “was engaged in … some issues with an attorney” at the law office in Savannah where Kim Moretz worked.
The two became friends, according to Charlie Ray Jr. Charlie Ray III, who had Tourette’s syndrome and lived with his parents on Wilmington Island, even moved in with the Moretzes about six months prior to his death.
However, that arrangement did not last long. Without getting into specifics, Charlie Ray Jr. said he “didn’t like what (he) heard” from his son — particularly about Chad Moretz.
“There were some things that he said about the guy that I didn’t like, and he didn’t like, and he and I both agreed that he should get out,” Ray Jr. said.
Accompanied by an Effingham County Sheriff’s deputy, Ray Jr. went to the Moretzes’ house on Whitehall Avenue to take his son back to Wilmington Island.
“I knew what kind of people they were, and that’s why I got the (deputy) to go with me to get him out,” he said. “Unfortunately, he continued to hear from them — unbeknownst to us. And then that night he went off with her …”
His voice trailed off as he referenced the final night of his son’s life. Charlie Ray Jr. acknowledged that, though he and his wife Sandi lived under the same roof with their son, “he was 35 years old and could come and go as he pleased.”
“So there were some things that he was doing that we didn’t know about, as far as meeting up with them,” he said. “I didn’t think he’d ever go back, but he did.”
Ray was asked if seeing Kim Moretz led away in handcuffs following her sentencing was at all satisfying.
“Yeah, it was,” he said. “I know what she’s got coming, so we’re satisfied with it.”
Charlie Ray III’s parents were present for all three days of the trial, but stayed out of the courtroom for extended periods when graphic testimony was presented. Charlie Ray Jr. was the only family member to attend the sentencing as severe weather threatened the area.
As he exited the Effingham County Courthouse on a cloudy, rainy morning, Charlie Ray Jr. was relieved for his entire family to have the trial behind them. He believed his son gained a degree of justice from the two guilty verdicts for Kim Moretz.
“I feel like he did,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s over, and we can get back to as normal a life as we could possibly obtain.”