Moran v. State, Nos. 16300

Docket Nº16301
Citation734 P.2d 712, 103 Nev. 138
Case DateMarch 31, 1987
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

Page 712

734 P.2d 712
103 Nev. 138
Richard Allen MORAN, Appellant,
v.
The STATE of Nevada, Respondent. (Two Cases)
Nos. 16300, 16301.
Supreme Court of Nevada.
March 31, 1987.

Page 713

[103 Nev. 139] Lovell, Bilbray & Potter, Las Vegas, for appellant.

Brian McKay, Atty. Gen., Carson City, Rex Bell, Dist. Atty., James Tufteland, Deputy Dist. Atty., Clark County, Las Vegas, for respondent.

[103 Nev. 140] OPINION

PER CURIAM:

After a thorough canvass in the guilt phase of the trial in these two consolidated cases, Richard Allen Moran pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder, one count of first degree arson, and one count of robbery. At the penalty hearing in the first case a three-judge panel found that the simultaneous shooting deaths of a bartender and customer in a saloon had been committed under two aggravating circumstances and two mitigating circumstances. In the second case, for the separate and subsequent shooting death of Moran's former wife, the penalty tribunal found that murder also to have been committed under two aggravating circumstances with one mitigating circumstance. The tribunal found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances in both instances and returned three separate sentences of death, one for each murder. Moran raises several assignments of error concerning the convictions and subsequent death sentences. The only error that warrants reversal is the penalty tribunal's finding of two aggravating circumstances in the murder of Moran's former wife. Moran was fairly convicted and sentenced to death for the other two murders.

On August 2, 1984, at approximately 4:30 a.m., appellant Richard Allen Moran entered the Red Pearl Saloon with Tammy Cortez. The two took seats at the bar. The two other persons present were the bartender, Sandra DeVere, and Russell Rhoades, a customer. DeVere was located behind the bar immediately in front of and slightly to the left of Moran and Cortez. Rhoades was seated at the bar immediately to Cortez' right with Moran located to Cortez' left. Suddenly and without warning, Moran removed his eight-shot .45 caliber automatic pistol from his belt and shot DeVere four times. Moran then immediately reached behind Cortez and fired the remaining four rounds into Rhoades. Moran then told Cortez to go behind the bar and pick up the change located on the back counter. Unable to open the cash register, Moran carried it out to his vehicle. Moran then started several fires in various locations in the saloon. Moran and Cortez then left the scene.

Nine days later, on August 11, 1984, Moran went to the apartment of Linda Vandervoort, his former wife. Moran and Vandervoort had been divorced six to eight months before the shootings. Without provocation, Moran suddenly fired seven shots at Vandervoort, five of which entered her body. At least two [103 Nev. 141] rounds passed through a wall and entered an adjacent apartment, one of which shattered the glass top of a coffee table. The occupant of the adjacent apartment was not home at the time of the shooting. Moran then turned the weapon on himself firing the last round into his abdomen. Being unsuccessful at this suicide attempt, Moran attempted to slit his wrists but could not find a knife or other object sharp enough to accomplish the task. Police found Moran in the bedroom of Vandervoort's apartment upon their arrival. Initially, at the crime scene, Moran claimed the carnage had been performed by intruders. Two days later, however, while in the hospital, Moran summoned police in order to make his confession.

Moran first contends that the evidence does not support the findings by the penalty tribunal of aggravating circumstances necessary for imposition of the sentences of death under NRS 200.030 and NRS 200.033. 1

Regarding the Vandervoort murder, the three-judge penalty tribunal found two aggravating

Page 714

circumstances: (1) depravity of mind, NRS 200.033(8), and (2) the murder was committed by a person who knowingly created a risk of death to more than one person by means of a weapon and course of action which was hazardous to the lives of more than one person. NRS 200.033(3).

We agree with the appellant that Vandervoort's murder did not involve circumstances which justified a finding of "depravity of mind." The facts of this case do not exhibit depravity of mind as contemplated in NRS 200.033(8). The circumstances of this [103 Nev. 142] murder were these: After talking with Vandervoort for a few minutes Moran asked her if she had read...

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28 practice notes
  • Valerio v. Crawford, No. 98-99033.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2002
    ...authority to conduct a harmless error review. That's what it had done in other cases, see, e.g. Robins, 798 P.2d at 564; Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712, 714-15 (1987). And that's what it did here, determining that the evidence supports the existence of the aggravating circumstan......
  • Nika v. Gittere, Case No. 3:09-cv-00178-JCM-WGC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • June 12, 2019
    ...Nev. 609, 877 P.2d 1025 (1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1038 (1995); Bennett v. State, 106 Nev. 135, 787 P.2d 797 (1990); Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712 91987); and Ford v. State, 102 Nev. 126, 717 P.2d 27 (1986)). The Nevada Supreme Court ruled, further, that the evidence suppor......
  • Moran v. Godinez, No. 91-15609
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 15, 1994
    ...are set forth in Godinez v. Moran, --- U.S. ----, ---- - ----, 113 S.Ct. 2680, 2682-84, 125 L.Ed.2d 321 (1993), and Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 140-41, 734 P.2d 712, 713 On November 28, 1984, Moran appeared before the Nevada trial court. He said he wanted to discharge his attorneys and pl......
  • Godinez v. Moran, No. 92-725
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 24, 1993
    ...sentence for the murder of his ex-wife and remanded for imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712 (1987). On July 30, 1987, respondent filed a petition for post-conviction relief in state court. Following an evidentiary heari......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Valerio v. Crawford, No. 98-99033.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 17, 2002
    ...authority to conduct a harmless error review. That's what it had done in other cases, see, e.g. Robins, 798 P.2d at 564; Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712, 714-15 (1987). And that's what it did here, determining that the evidence supports the existence of the aggravating circumstan......
  • Nika v. Gittere, Case No. 3:09-cv-00178-JCM-WGC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • June 12, 2019
    ...Nev. 609, 877 P.2d 1025 (1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1038 (1995); Bennett v. State, 106 Nev. 135, 787 P.2d 797 (1990); Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712 91987); and Ford v. State, 102 Nev. 126, 717 P.2d 27 (1986)). The Nevada Supreme Court ruled, further, that the evidence suppor......
  • Moran v. Godinez, No. 91-15609
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 15, 1994
    ...are set forth in Godinez v. Moran, --- U.S. ----, ---- - ----, 113 S.Ct. 2680, 2682-84, 125 L.Ed.2d 321 (1993), and Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 140-41, 734 P.2d 712, 713 On November 28, 1984, Moran appeared before the Nevada trial court. He said he wanted to discharge his attorneys and pl......
  • Godinez v. Moran, No. 92-725
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 24, 1993
    ...sentence for the murder of his ex-wife and remanded for imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Moran v. State, 103 Nev. 138, 734 P.2d 712 (1987). On July 30, 1987, respondent filed a petition for post-conviction relief in state court. Following an evidentiary heari......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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