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One guilty plea in case stemming from standoff, murder
Lambert Kevin
Kevin Lambert

One of two defendants from a hostage standoff that followed a brutal murder earlier this year has pled guilty in Effingham County Superior Court.

Kevin Lambert will receive five years of probation after entering a guilty plea last week to hindering the apprehension of a criminal. Lambert answered the door as officers came to the Westwood Heights home of Chad and Kimberly Moretz on Jan. 11 to ask if they knew the whereabouts of Charlie Ray.

Lambert told officers Chad Moretz said he wouldn’t be taken alive, and they whisked Lambert out of the doorway and away from the house. A standoff between Chad Moretz and authorities ensued, and it ended when Moretz was shot and killed by SWAT team snipers after he stepped onto the front porch brandishing an automatic rifle.

Authorities also had escorted Kimberly Moretz to safety before Chad Moretz emerged from the house.

Once investigators got inside the Moretzes’ home, they uncovered a grisly and brutal crime. Ray, a Wilmington Island resident who had befriended the Moretzes, had been killed in their home and dismembered, with parts of his body hidden inside the house and other parts concealed in a South Carolina storage unit.

Ray, who suffered from Tourette’s syndrome, was reported missing by his family around New Year’s Day.

Lambert and Kimberly Moretz, who is his sister, were charged with concealing the death of another, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence.

Moretz and Lambert were indicted March 18 and they were arraigned April 19. They each entered a not guilty plea.

With his plea last week, Lambert will be given credit for time served and will not be prosecuted for concealing the death of another and tampering with evidence. He also has been ordered to not have contact with the victim’s family and he has been banished from the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.

Jury selection for Kimberly Moretz’s trial was held last week, and her trial will be held Sept. 23-25 at the Effingham Judicial Complex.