The parents of Charlie Ray III expressed relief and gratitude Friday after an Effingham County jury found Kim Moretz guilty of concealing their son’s grisly death last year.
“We felt like justice was served today, and we’re very happy for the verdict,” Charlie Ray Jr. said outside the Effingham County Courthouse.
Moretz also was found guilty of hindering the apprehension of a criminal for misleading investigators in the days following Ray’s death. The jury of eight women and four men found her not guilty of tampering with evidence, but Charlie Ray Jr. called that charge “in our minds, the minor one of the three.”
Standing with his arm around his wife Sandi, Charlie explained how difficult the past year has been for the family. What began in January 2013 as an investigation into the disappearance of Charlie Ray III, who had Tourette’s syndrome, escalated into the discovery that Ray had been stabbed to death and dismembered by Kim Moretz’s husband Chad inside the couple’s Rincon home.
For his family, the trial brought back all the details of Charlie Ray III’s final hours. Testimony included videotaped statements Kim Moretz gave to investigators that Chad Moretz killed Charlie after the two drank heavily and argued, then dismembered his body with a saw the next day.
“It drug up a year and we’re glad it’s over,” Charlie Ray Jr. said. “The worst thing that could’ve happened, in our minds, is for this to have been a hung jury or something and we had to go through it again. But we don’t have to do that.”
Sandi described sitting through the trial as “extremely” difficult. The Ray family attended all three days of the trial, but some details were too disturbing for them to hear.
The Rays stayed out of the courtroom during the testimony of a few witnesses, including two forensic pathologists. Two autopsies had to be conducted — one in Georgia on the parts of Ray’s body that were hidden inside the Moretz home on Whitehall Avenue and one in South Carolina on his body parts that were found in four containers in a storage unit near Hardeeville.
When Assistant District Attorney Brian Deal referenced the graphic details of the autopsy findings in his closing statement Friday, Sandi burst into tears and left the courtroom. Her husband followed her out.
“It was very difficult,” Charlie said. “We both had to leave the courtroom because we got a little upset about what we were hearing, but I think that’s understandable.
“It was a very difficult thing to hear and see, and to even know about, obviously,” he continued. “But we’re happy that everything is over with now, as far as all these legal matters are concerned.
“We’re looking forward to getting back to normal life as quickly as we can.”
While the Rays look forward to no longer hearing their son’s death mentioned countless times in court and through the media, they know a “normal life” now has a different definition for them. No jury verdict will bring back their son.
“We miss him, of course, and we think about him a lot and wish he was here,” Charlie said.
“But this is something that we will never, never get over,” Sandi said. “Never.”