The Devil Went Down to Georgia

This December 2012 handout photo provided by the Effingham County Sheriff's Office shows Chad Moretz. A SWAT team sniper shot 34-year-old Moretz on Jan. 11, 2013, ending a four-hour standoff when Moretz emerged from his Effingham County home armed with an assault rifle. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Effingham County Sheriff's Office)

Chad Moretz minced up his buddy (courtesy of Effingham County Sherrif/AP)

Chad Moretz never seemed quite right. And that’s before police discovered the dismembered head and hands of former friend Charlie Ray hidden in the wall of his Savannah, Georgia kitchen.

“You could look at him and tell something was wrong,” Moretz’s long-time neighbor Ross Maruca said recently. “Just the look he had. He looked like he was dazed all the time.”

The last few years had not been kind to Chad Moretz.

In July of 2011, his father Jeffrey followed his estranged wife Christine into a local hospital and fatally shot her while she was visiting a sick friend. Jeffrey also shot himself, but survived the injury and will now stand trial for his crime in April.

Later that same month, Moretz was arrested and jailed for chasing his sister around with a machete. The following May, neighbors reported him for allegedly stabbing a dog with a pocketknife. November found Moretz threatening a friend at gunpoint when he refused to give him a ride. And last month, police arrested Moretz for making terrorist threats; he was released on bond the very same day.

Something tells me this guy should have been locked up a long time ago. And I’m sure people are starting to realize that now.

On New Year’s Eve, 35-year-old Charlie Ray went missing and for weeks, no one knew what happened to him. Since Ray was known to be friends with Moretz, police decided to visit his home and question him. They were met at the door by Kevin Lambert, Moretz’s brother-in-law, who whispered a warning.

“Chad’s in here, he’s got a rifle, he’s going to kill y’all.”

Brother-in-law Kevin Lambert (courtesy of Effingham County Sherrif/AP)

Officers immediately dragged Lambert to safety and called for backup. Armed with an assault rifle, Moretz refused to let his wife leave and the standoff began. The SWAT team arrived a short time later and a hostage negotiator was called in.

Four hours of unsuccessful negotiations later, Moretz emerged from the home with rifle in hand, raised the gun and was immediately shot and killed by a police sniper. An investigation of the stinky, roach-filled home revealed a hole behind a kitchen cabinet. And in that hole, authorities found the severed head and hands of Charlie Ray. A family member later directed police to a storage locker in Jasper, South Carolina where the rest of Ray’s body could be found.

According to Moretz’s wife, Moretz and Ray were drinking together when an argument broke out. Ray suffered from Tourette’s syndrome and was prone to vocal outbursts and flailing arms from time to time. At any rate, the argument ended with Moretz stabbing his friend more than 40 times. The body was then dismembered, presumably to make it easier to hide.

Fortunately (for everyone but Charlie Ray, that is), justice prevailed. Chad Moretz got exactly what was coming to him when that sniper’s bullet prevented him from doing any more harm in this life. And his wife and brother-in-law have both been charged as accessories for helping him conceal Ray’s death.

One of the strangest things about this case is that one nagging question: Why? Why would Chad kill and dismember his friend over something as simple as a drunken argument?

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office investigator David Ehsanipoor has some thoughts on the matter.

“I don’t believe there was a motive,” he said recently. “It wasn’t a drug deal gone bad or a love triangle. Chad was just crazy.”

It makes you wonder how many more Chads are running around out there, doesn’t it?

Posted on January 21, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. There are a lot more Chads out there. Whats even more disturbing is that Family members directed police to a storage locker? Did they know what was in there? His wife and brother in law helped hide the body? There is one absolute truth in law enforcement; Nothing is ever the worst it could possibly be,,, I feel for the cops that have to “clean up” this mess.

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