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Morning Sun
  • Moutz bound over for murder

  • Carla Moutz, Pittsburg, was bound over for trial on Friday after a preliminary hearing in the first degree murder of her husband, John Moutz.

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  • Carla Moutz, Pittsburg, was bound over for trial on Friday after a preliminary hearing in the first degree murder of her husband, John Moutz.
    The preliminary hearing included an incriminating 911 recording, as well as testimony from three officers about the results of the investigation. Ultimately, Judge Lori Bolton Fleming ruled there was probable cause that Moutz committed the murder, which took place on May 9 in Pittsburg. Arraignment was set for Monday at 10 a.m.
    John Moutz, 49, was shot in the evening hours in early May at 506 W. Sixth St. in Pittsburg. He was taken to Via Christi Hospital by first responders, where he later died.
    Friday’s hearing began with the playing of the 911 recording, during which moaning could be heard in the background. The caller identified herself as “Carla” and made several statements that were used by Crawford County Attorney Michael Gayoso as evidence of premeditation and to help argue probable cause. Those statements included “I shot somebody” and “No one talks to me like that.”
    Her father, John Belew, who was in the room at the time of the shooting, was also heard in the recording telling the caller “You’re going to jail.” The caller responded, “No, I won’t, because I’m leaving this [expletive] house.”
    The recording goes on through the arrival of law enforcement, who found Belew at the scene, telling investigators that Carla had left the home.
    Gayoso called Lt. Cris Hatcher, Pittsburg Police Department, to the stand, and entered several photographs of the scene into evidence. Hatcher testified that upon arrival, Belew had said that he, his daughter and John Moutz had been drinking when Carla and John Moutz got into a verbal argument. At that point, Carla Moutz “fled the room to the bedroom, returned with a handgun and shot her husband, who was sitting on the couch,” Hatcher testified.
    Responding officers found a white towel and couch covered in blood and could see a handgun laying on bed in the bedroom while clearing the home. With this information, they got a search warrant. The weapon, Hatcher said, was sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigations for ballistics processing, and results have not been obtained from that analysis.
    Det. Ben Henderson, Pittsburg Police Department, was the second to testify, and confirmed several photos from the scene that were entered as evidence by Gayoso. He spoke about the results of the search warrant and the investigation at the scene.
    These included pictures of one spent cartridge and five live cartridges from the revolver, a hole in the home caused by a bullet, the bullet found across the alley from the home, an indentation in the privacy fence near where the bullet was found, the cell phones of Carla Moutz and John Belew, and received calls from Carla Moutz’ phone. He also testified to recovering the handgun and the bullet. Upon questioning by defense attorney Rick Smith, Henderson said that during the processing of the weapon, it was possible that fingerprints, if found on the weapon, could have been smudged.
    Page 2 of 2 - Finally, Deputy Bill Tomasi, with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, testified about arriving on the scene and arresting Carla Moutz.
    Upon arrival, Tomasi found John Moutz on the floor, “sound[ing] like he was snoring,” as well as John Belew. After arranging for Moutz to be taken to a hospital and speaking with Belew, Carla Moutz was developed as a suspect and he got her cell phone number.
    Tomasi said he called her at 8:44 p.m. and she identified herself. Tomasi testified that “she said she hurt John.” Over a series of four phone calls, in which she hung up each time, Tomasi discovered Carla Moutz was walking, and eventually got to where he could tell through background noise that she was nearby. He spotted a woman running and began a chase. Eventually, the woman tripped on a curb and fell, allowing Tomasi to handcuff her. She then identified herself as Carla.
    Gayoso argued that the evidence was enough to justify a first-degree murder charge, including evidence of premeditation.
    Smith offered no evidence in the preliminary hearing, but argued that there was no premeditation, and therefore the charges should be lessened to at least second-degree murder.
    Judge Fleming ruled in favor of the prosecution, bounding Moutz over for trial and an arraignment was scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
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