FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST.
LANDRY, NO. 13-K-4735-D HONORABLE ADAM GERARD CASWELL,
B. Taylor, Jennifer Ardoin, Alisa Ardoin Gothreaux, Assistant
District Attorneys, COUNSEL FOR: Plaintiff/Appellee - State
Annette Fuller Roach Louisiana Appellate Project P. O., Lake
Charles, COUNSEL FOR: Defendant/Appellant - Hank Allen Moran
aka - Hank Moran, Hank Allen Moran Louisiana State Prison
Falcon III Angola.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R.
Cooks, and Elizabeth A. Pickett, Judges.
ULYSSES GENE THIBODEAUX CHIEF JUDGE.
Hank Moran appeals his jury conviction for the first degree
murder of his wife, Constance Moran. Before she was killed,
Ms. Moran called police to report Mr. Moran had choked her.
Officers responded and returned to the home after they were
unable to locate Mr. Moran at a local park he frequented.
When an officer returned, he found Mr. Moran crouching over
his wife's body as blood seeped from her. Mr. Moran was
charged with first degree murder pursuant to La.R.S.
14:30(A)(9)(a). The State argued he killed his wife to
prevent her from testifying about the domestic violence
incident. On appeal, he argues the evidence did not support a
guilty verdict and the trial court admitted inadmissible
statements that require reversal of the verdict.
affirm the trial court's rulings and the jury's
1. whether the trial court erred in denying Mr. Moran's
Motion to Suppress statements he made after his arrest but
prior to being advised of his rights under Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602 (1966) and
La.Const. art. 1 § 13;
2. whether the trial court erred in denying Mr. Moran's
Motion in Limine and allowing statements made by Ms. Moran,
who was unavailable to testify as she was deceased, in
violation of Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36,
124 S.Ct. 1354 (2004); and
3. whether there is sufficient evidence to support a guilty
verdict of first degree murder pursuant to La.R.S.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
responded to a 911 call from Ms. Moran who reported that her
husband had choked her. Officer Morris Leday encountered Ms.
Moran about a half block from her house. Ms. Moran gave a
written statement and orally told the officer her husband had
threatened to kill her and himself if she told police he
choked her. Additional officers arrived and searched the home
for Mr. Moran to no avail. Officers then traveled to a local
park to search for Mr. Moran based on Ms. Moran's
information that he often went there. Before doing so,
officers secured the home, searched around the property and
under the home, and told Ms. Moran to remain inside with the
doors locked. Unable to locate Mr. Moran at the park,
officers returned to the home.
Officer Leday returned, he noticed the back door had been
forced open. Upon entering the home, Officer Leday heard
"thrashing" sounds coming from the bedroom. He went
to the living room and observed Mr. Moran crouched over Ms.
Moran with blood on the floor and her body. Officer Leday
identified himself, demanded Mr. Moran to raise his hands,
and ordered him to drop the knife. Mr. Moran dropped the
knife after being ordered four times. He then grabbed a
bottle of pills and swallowed a handful.
being escorted out of the home, he stated, "I bet now
she'll listen." Later, while being examined by
paramedics he told Officer Leday, "I did what I had to
do, I did the job right, huh, officer? Did I do the job right
officer?" Mr. Moran was transported to the Special
Operations building for interrogation. As the interrogation
room was being prepared, Officer Leday waited in the lobby
area with Mr. Moran, who had not been given Miranda
warnings yet. While waiting, Mr. Moran made statements to
Officer Leday admitting to the killing, describing his
method, and expressing the gratification he received from
killing his wife. Mr. Moran stated, "[t]he last thing
she told me was that she loved me. I looked at her straight
in the eyes and I said, 'I love you too, baby, ' then
I jugged her straight down in her esophagus."
Moran was charged with first degree murder. He filed a number
of motions to strike statements he gave Officer Leday before
he was mirandized and to suppress Ms. Moran's
written and oral statements. A jury found him guilty of first
degree murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison at hard
labor. Mr. ...