Robert Moorman Executed For
Chopping Up His Adoptive Mother in 1984
By Matthew Hendley - Phoenixnewtimes.com
February 29, 2012
Robert Moorman, who sat on Arizona's death row for
nearly three decades, was executed today at the state prison in
Moorman, 63, was originally in prison for a
kidnapping conviction out of Coconino County in 1972.
During that prison stint, Moorman was granted a
72-hour "compassionate furlough" from the prison so he could spend time
with his adoptive mother.
He ended up chopping her into pieces, flushing her
fingers down the toilet, and distributing the rest of her remains into a
few dumpsters around Florence.
Moorman was Arizona's longest-serving death row
inmate, and none of his many appeals of his death sentence went in his
According to the Arizona Department of Corrections,
Moorman's last meal included a double hamburger, french fries, two beef
burritos, two 14-ounce containers of rocky road ice cream, and three RC
Next to get the state's juice is Robert Towery, who
was convicted of murdering a man while robbing his home in 1991. He was
sentenced to death in 1992.
Towery's execution is scheduled for March 8.
Man who killed mother during prison
leave is executed
By Michael Kiefer - TucsonCitizen.com
February 29, 2012
Robert Moormann, who killed his mother and chopped her into pieces
during a compassionate leave from prison 28 years ago, was put to death
Wednesday by lethal injection.
Moments before the
execution began, Moormann smiled at the witnesses assembled behind glass
nearby. In his last words, he apologized to his family and to his victim
in a 1972 abduction and rape.
“I hope that this
will bring closure and they can start the healing now,” he said. “And I
just hope they will forgive me in time.”
It was the first
Arizona execution carried out with a single drug instead of a three-drug
cocktail. But the result was the same. The execution started at 10:23
a.m. and ended at 10:33a.m., taking roughly the same amount of time that
executions with the three-drug protocol took.
his head back and forth, alternately looking at the witnesses and at the
one-way glass of a window into the control room and huffed deeply. Then,
he fixed his gaze on the ceiling as the light ran out of his eyes. They
were still slightly open when Corrections Director Charles Ryan appeared
suddenly from a side door, stood next to Moormann’s lifeless body and
announced that “the execution was completed.” The curtain into the death
chamber closed, and the execution was over.
execution at Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence came after the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied
last-minute requests for a stay late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
But the requests
did not pass without an ultimatum from the appellate court: that the
Arizona Department of Corrections must more carefully follow its
lethal-injection protocols and stop changing them “on an ad hoc basis”
or face micromanagement of executions by the courts.
view the one-drug execution — in effect, an overdose of barbiturates —
as less likely to cause pain or suffering. But the reason the
Corrections Department used the one-drug option for Moormann’s execution
was because it discovered only Monday that the supply of one of the
other two drugs it intended to use had passed its expiration date.
Other than a 15-
to 20-minute delay that Corrections officials would not explain, the
execution went smoothly.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday,
Moormann was served his last meal of a hamburger, fries, two beef
burritos, three Royal Crown colas and rocky-road ice cream.
Moormann met with a Catholic deacon, telling him that he was “ready to
go home” and that he hoped there would be healing after his execution.
According to the
deacon, Ed Sheffer of the Diocese of Tucson, Moormann prayed, took
Communion and said, “I trust God.”
Sheffer that as the execution was being carried out, he would “repeat
Jesus’ name in my heart.”
within a few hundred yards of where, in 1984, he committed one of the
more bizarre murders in Arizona history.
Moormann, then 35,
was in prison in Florence serving a sentence of nine years to life for
kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl. He had already
saw his parole revoked but was allowed to leave the prison for 72 hours
on a “compassionate furlough.” He spent it at the Blue Mist Motel across
the street from the prison complex with his 74-year-old mother, with
whom he had been having sex for decades.
and Moormann tied his mother to the bed and beat her, then suffocated
her with a pillow.
Then, he panicked,
he told investigators, and he “dissected” her, flushing her fingers down
the motel toilet, dumping her head and dismembered body in garbage cans
around Florence, and even sending a box of his mother’s bones to the
prison. He told a prison employee that they were spoiled “dog bones.”
During his trial,
Moormann attempted to convince jurors that he was insane, but they
didn’t buy it. A Pinal County Superior Court judge sentenced him to
Police Chief Tom Rankin, who witnessed Wednesday’s execution, recalled
his conversations with Moormann on the night of the crime. “He was
calm,” Rankin said. “He tried to act like nothing was going on. The man
knew what was going on. There was no doubt in my mind.”
Rankin, who is now
running for mayor of Florence, said he witnessed the execution out of a
sense of seeing things to their end.
went to prison for a 1972 crime. He took an 8-year-old girl at gunpoint
and fled with her for Las Vegas in his mother’s car, raping the girl
along the way. When his car became mired off road, he and the girl
Connie Jo Swanson,
74, of Phoenix, remembers the day she and her husband stopped to help
the strange man and the little girl shivering on the side of the road in
the early-morning January cold, two hours south of Las Vegas. She gave
them both food and put the girl to bed in the back of their motor home
as they continued on to Vegas.
“The little girl
never said a word,” Swanson told The Arizona Republic.
If Swanson thought
the circumstance was strange, she was even more concerned when she saw
Moormann take out his pistol to remove the bullets at a table in the
motor home. She asked if she could put the gun in a drawer, and Moormann
Moormann told her
that he was taking the child to be with her uncle and said that they
could drop them off anywhere in Las Vegas.
drove directly to a police station, dropped Moormann and the girl out
front and then found a pay phone around the corner where they called
the police later said that Moormann told them he had intended to leave
the girl to die in the stuck car, but she kept crying so he took her
Swanson, police said Moormann intended to kill the girl if they weren’t
picked up shortly and then intended to kill Swanson and her family and
take the motor home. When asked why he didn’t, Swanson said Moormann
told police, “Because they were nice to me."
Robert Moormann execution: Arizona
executes mentally disabled inmate who murdered mother
By Michael Zennie and Louise Boyle -
February 29, 2012
Robert Moorman's last words were to apologise to rape
Lethal injection drugs changed at last minute
Writhed and kept eyes open during execution
Moormann admitted to smothering mother in hotel room
Lawyers claimed he had intellect and emotions of a
Psychologist said mother, 72, forced him to perform
sex acts on her
Condemned: Robert Moormann was executed today in
Arizona after murdering and dismembering his mother in 1984.
A death row inmate was executed today after killing
and dismembering his adoptive mother despite last-minute appeals over
his mental disabilities.
Just before he was put to death, Robert Henry
Moormann used his last words to apologize to his family and to the
family of an eight-year-old girl he kidnapped and molested in 1972.
He said: 'I hope this brings closure and they can
start healing now.
'I just hope that they will forgive me in time.'
Moormann was the first Arizona inmate to be executed
with one lethal drug, as opposed to the state's long-standing,
The switch was made after it was realised on Monday
that one of the drugs had expired.
It meant Moormann was given only two days' notice of
how he would be put to death instead of the official seven days.
Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a
request for a stay, the two-member execution team gave the lethal
injection to Moormann at 10.23 am. The 63-year-old was pronounced dead
at 10.33 am.
Moormann appeared to writhe around
more than other inmates executed with the three-drug protocol. And
unlike other prisoners, who appeared to fall asleep immediately,
Moormann kept his eyes open during the entire execution.
For his last meal he had requested a double
hamburger, french fries, two beef burritos, two 14-oz containers of
rocky road ice cream and three RC Colas, according to the Arizona
Department of Corrections.
The execution took place just a minute's drive from
the Blue Mist Motel, where on January 13, 1984, he beat, stabbed and
suffocated his adoptive mother, Roberta (Maude) Moormann, 74. She had
sexually abused him into adulthood, according to defense lawyers.
Robert Henry Moormann confessed to smothering his
mother and standing naked in a hotel room, 'dissecting' her. He cut off
her head, legs and arms, halved her torso and flushed all her fingers
down the toilet.
Moormann's lawyers claimed the 63-year-old killer was
mentally retarded and had the intellect and emotional capacity of a
small child. They argued the attack was provoked by years of sexual
abuse by his mother Maude Moormann - even while he was in prison.
LAST MEAL OF ROBERT MOORMANN
Two beef burritos
Two x 14oz containers of rocky road ice-cream
Three RC colas
Moormann was free from prison on a 72-hour furlough -
given to inmates to see family or for conjugal visits. The murder
prompted the state to stop its policy of allowing such leave.
He was initially jailed for kidnapping an
eight-year-old neighbour and trying to take her to Las Vegas in 1972.
Along the way, he sexually abused her several times
in dusty motels. She was found alive after the horrific ordeal and
Moormann jailed for kidnapping.
Prosecutors said he wanted to abduct and rape the
girl's mother, but lost his nerve and took the child instead, according
to the Arizona Republic. On the murder of his mother, Moormann's lawyers
told a different story. They said his mother, the widow of a well-known
businessman from Flagstaff, had been sexually abusing him for years -
forcing him to perform sex acts on her.
Maude was actually Moormann's adoptive mother. His
biological mother, a 15-year-old hard-drinking prostitute, died in a car
crash when she was 17.
Lawyers claimed it was in the midst of a performing a
sex act on his mother, aged 72, that Moormann put a pillow over her face
to keep her quiet. Once she was dead, he went about meticulously trying
to dispose of her body. He put her body on the table of the motel and
cut it to pieces.
He then carried the pieces to dumpsters around the
town and disposed of them.
He was caught when he arrived at a local pizzeria and
asked if he could dump 'cow guts' in the trash bin behind the business.
The suspicious owner called the police.
He also stripped some of his mother's bones of their
flesh and packed them in a box. He gave the box to a prison employee and
said they were spoiled meat bones for the prison guard dogs.
All of this, the lawyers said, was the result of
Moormann's severely diminished mental capacity.
His psychologists, and even fellow prison inmates,
have testified that beneath his gruff voice, bald head and over-sized
glasses, Moormann has the mental capacity of a small child and still
maintains an infantile affect and demeanor.
Moormann's lawyers also cited his difficult early
childhood in their defense of the killing.
His mother gave birth to him June 4, 1948 at the age
of 15 and his father soon abandoned him. Two years later, his mother, an
alcoholic and a prostitute, broke her neck in a car crash and died.
Moormann was passed to his grandparents, though he
was soon removed to foster care because his grandfather was an
uncontrollable alcoholic. He passed in and out of foster homes before
being adopted at the age of two by Henry and Maude Moormann.
Henry was reticent about adopting the child, but
Maude's maternal instinct won over and the couple took him in.
The Moormanns were well-known in Flagstaff. Henry ran
a taxi service in town. But early on, family members told the Arizona
Daily Sun, they saw trouble in Robert.
He was classified as mentally retarded in school and
given special education classes. When he was 13, he was committed to a
state mental hospital after he shot his mother with a .22-caliber rifle.
Moormann claimed he was simply taking the gun out to
show it to his mother and that it fired accidentally.
When Henry Moormann died in 1967, Maude clung to her
'It's over, it was a horrible crime. The man knew
what he was doing. There was no doubt in my mind.'
In 1972 at age 24, Robert Moormann kidnapped an
eight-year-old girl next door.
Court testimony indicated he might
have been more interested in the child's mother - whom he wanted to rape
- but lost his nerve and snatched the girl from school.
Prosecutors alleged that he sexually abused the child
as he carted her off to Las Vegas. However, he was never convicted of
Even after Moormann was jailed, Maude, now elderly,
visited her son - taking a bus more than three and a half hours from
Flagstaff - three times.
It was on her third visit that Moormann murdered her
in the hotel room where they were staying.
Rex Gilliand, a distant relative of Maude, who knew
Robert Moormann briefly, said the convicted murderer was a 'throwaway'
child who never got the attention from most of the people in his life
that other kids receive.
'The one person in the whole world who loved him
unconditionally, he kills brutally,' Mr Gilliand told the Daily Sun.
Tom Rankin, who was Florence's police chief at the
time of the killing and interviewed Moormann, said he attended the
execution to get some closure in the case.
Outside the prison today, the former chief said:
'It's over. It was a horrible crime.'
Rankin, who retired from the police department in
1994, rejected arguments from defense attorneys about Moormann being too
mentally disabled for the state to legally execute.
He said: 'Those are excuses attorneys try to dig up
to save someone's life. It just costs the taxpayers more money. The man
knew what he was doing. There was no doubt in my mind.'
Arizona joins Ohio, Texas and several other states
that last year made the switch to pentobarbital after the only U.S.
manufacturer of execution drug sodium thiopental said it would
In July, the only U.S.-licensed manufacturer of
pentobarbital announced that it would put the drug off-limits for
executions. And a company that bought the pentobarbital line in December
is required to also keep it from use by prisons for executions.
Once states use up their current supplies of
pentobarbital, executions could be delayed across the country as
officials look for yet another alternative.
Execution to conclude shocking
Arizona murder case
By Michael Kiefer - TucsonCitizen.com
February 25, 2012
the notorious killer scheduled for execution Wednesday, could be a
character in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
He’s a pudgy, bald
man with oversize eyeglasses who speaks with a childish affectation in a
croaking old man’s voice. He is 63 years old and looks a decade older,
yet his prison mates, his attorneys and the mental-health professionals
who have evaluated him say he has the reasoning and judgment of a child.
On Jan. 12, 1984,
while on a furlough from prison, Moormann tied his 74-year-old mother to
a bed in the Blue Mist Motel in Florence, beat her and then suffocated
her with a pillow. Then, he meticulously cut her body into pieces and
distributed the parts to garbage cans behind local businesses.
photos are ghastly: Maude’s head being lifted out of a garbage bag, her
feet lying on a table like cobbler’s forms, her bones in a bloody box.
Moormann, his lawyers and mental-health evaluators say the murder came
after years of abuse in which Maude Moormann made her adoptive son
perform sex acts and even arranged his prison furloughs to that end.
on the other hand, said that the crime was premeditated and that
Moormann was looking to take over his mother’s considerable assets.
Moormann was found
guilty of first-degree murder in 1985, and a judge subsequently
sentenced him to death. After 28 years, that sentence is about to be
last-minute legal miracles, Moormann will be executed Wednesday at the
Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence. The state’s last execution was in
July 2011, when Thomas West, 52, died by lethal injection.
By every account,
Moormann’s life has been a nightmare.
He was born Bobby
Conger in Tucson on June 4, 1948, to a 15-year-old girl who drank
heavily and engaged in prostitution, according to court records and
testimony at Moormann’s clemency hearing. The baby’s father abandoned
his new family, and the mother died in an accident at age 17, so baby
Bobby went to live with his maternal grandparents until he was put up
for adoption because of his grandfather’s alcohol abuse.
After stays in
foster homes, he was adopted by a Flagstaff couple, Henry and Roberta
Maude Moormann, when he was 2 and a half. Henry Moormann owned a taxicab
company, and after he died, his wife remained single and raised their
adopted son Robert, and, according to testimony at the clemency hearing,
forced him to engage in sexual acts with her.
classified as mentally retarded while in public school and attended
special-education classes. His first stay in a state mental hospital
occurred when he was 13 after he accidentally shot his mother. During
his clemency hearing, Moormann said he was hiding a .22-caliber rifle in
his bed. His mother came into his room and sat on the bed, and when he
pulled the gun out to show her, it discharged.
graduated high school, he attended barber college, but did not work as a
barber. Instead, he worked menial U.S. Forest Service jobs and bused
He had his first
run-in with the law in January 1972, when he kidnapped an 8-year-old
neighbor and family friend and tried to drive her to Las Vegas in his
mother’s car. He had wanted to kidnap and rape the girl’s mother, but
lost his nerve and took the girl instead, according to court testimony.
They spent two
nights in motels along the way, Moormann forcing the girl to perform sex
acts. Then, when Moormann got the car stuck near Temple Bar, he and the
girl hitchhiked the rest of the way to Las Vegas. A car picked them up
near Hoover Dam and drove them to a police station.
convicted of kidnapping — he claimed it occurred because he had stopped
taking medication — and he was sentenced to nine years to life in
prison. He was paroled in January 1979, but was returned to prison 10
months later because he could not abide by the terms of parole.
In 1984, prisoners
at state prisons could apply for 72-hour compassionate furloughs to meet
with relatives or for conjugal visits. Maude Moormann came down from
Flagstaff and the two stayed in Room 22 of the Blue Mist Motel, across
the street from the prison complex in Florence. It was the third
furlough they’d spent together.
On the second
evening of the furlough, Moormann came to a local pizzeria and asked the
owner if he could dump some cow guts in the garbage cans behind the
restaurant. The owner said no, and because he worked at the prison and
recognized Moormann, he called police, who paid Moormann a visit.
said that his mother was ill and later said she had recovered and gone
to visit friends.
discovered that Moormann had told other business owners that he’d wanted
to dump some rotting hamburger meat and that he had given a prison
employee a box full of spoiled “dog bones,” saying there wasn’t room for
them in the motel dumpster.
employee dutifully picked them up some time after midnight.
Investigators eventually recovered Maude’s dismembered body from several
garbage cans. The “dog bones” were also Maude’s.
to police as he was sitting in the backseat of a squad car.
He told police
that he had “dissected” his mother while he was in the nude and that he
had lost one of her fingers for a while, then flushed it down the toilet
when he found it.
Before his trial,
Moormann told a court-ordered psychologist that he had been having an
affair with his mother for years and that on the night of the murder,
she had asked him to perform sex acts. During one of them, he put a
pillow over her face to quiet her. He claimed he had accidentally killed
dismembered her and put her body parts in garbage bags or flushed them.
disregarded his insanity defense and found Moormann guilty of
first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death.
clemency hearing, Moormann said he no longer remembered details of the
murder other than touching his mother’s breasts while she was tied to a
bed and later carrying her body to the bathroom.
“I remember she
was tied up, but I don’t remember doing it,” he said. “I just remember
seeing my hands doing things.”
Moormann has lived
quietly in prison, but his health has deteriorated.
He had a major
stroke in 2007. Last September, Moormann was rushed to the hospital for
an emergency appendectomy, and doctors discovered that he had several
blocked arteries in his heart. In November, he returned to the hospital
for a quintuple bypass.
On Feb. 16, he was
again rushed to the hospital after complaining of abdominal pain and
becoming unresponsive in a prison infirmary. Arizona Department of
Corrections officials refused to comment on his condition.
He had recovered
sufficiently by Friday to speak at his clemency hearing.
Robert Henry Moorman
Date of Birth: June 4,
While serving a sentence of 9
years to life at the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Moorman was given
a 72-hour compassionate furlough to visit with his mother. The two
stayed at the Blue Mist Motel in Florence.
On January 13, 1984, Moorman
bound and gagged his mother and then strangled and stabbed her. Moorman
chopped the body into many parts and disposed of them in dumpsters
Presiding Judge: Richard N. Roylston
Prosecutor: W. Allen Stooks
Start of Trial: March 26, 1985
Verdict: April 4, 1985
Sentencing: May 7, 1985
Prior conviction punishable by life imprisonment
None sufficient to call for leniency
State v. Moorman, 154 Ariz. 578, 744 P.2d 679 (1987).
426 F.3d 1044
Robert Henry Moormann, Petitioner-Appellant,
Dora B. Schriro, * Director, Arizona Department of Corrections,
Docket number: 00-99015
October 13, 2005
Appeal from the United States District
Court for the District of Arizona; Roslyn O. Silver, District Judge,
Presiding. D.C. No. CV-91-01121-PHX-ROS.
Before SCHROEDER, Chief Judge, TROTT, and RAWLINSON,
SCHROEDER, Chief Judge.
Robert Henry Moormann was convicted in Arizona of the
first degree murder of his elderly adoptive mother and sentenced to
death in 1985. This is an appeal from the district court's denial of his
first federal petition for habeas corpus relief. He earlier filed two
unsuccessful state petitions for collateral relief after losing his
direct appeal from the conviction and sentence in state court.
We heard oral argument in this case in November 2001.
We then deferred submission pending the Supreme Court's decision in Ring
v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 122 S.Ct. 2428, 153 L.Ed.2d 556 (2002). In
Ring, the Court decided that the Arizona sentencing scheme applied in
this case, in which the trial judge alone determined the presence or
absence of aggravating factors required by Arizona law for the
imposition of the death penalty, was not compatible with the Sixth
Amendment. 536 U.S. at 589, 122 S.Ct. 2428. We again deferred submission
pending the outcome of other cases with priority that determined the
retroactivity of Ring. See Pizzuto v. Arave, 280 F.3d 949 (9th
Cir.2002); amended by 385 F.3d 1247 (9th Cir.2004); aff'd 385 F.3d 1247
(9th Cir.2004); Summerlin v. Stewart, 341 F.3d 1082 (9th Cir.2003) (en
banc); rev'd sub nom. Schriro v. Summerlin, 124 S.Ct. 2519, 542 U.S.
348, 159 L.Ed.2d 442 (2004). Subsequently, the Supreme Court held that
Ring is not retroactive to cases on habeas corpus review. Schriro v.
Summerlin, 124 S.Ct. at 2526. Thus, Ring ultimately does not affect the
current appeal. Given the length of time that had passed since oral
argument, we then gave the parties an opportunity to file supplemental
briefs. We have received and considered those briefs and this case can
now be decided.
In order to set the legal framework
for our decision, we first determine that the provisions of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") do not
apply to this case. See 28 U.S.C. 2244 et seq. Chapter 153 of AEDPA,
dealing with general habeas corpus petitions, does not apply to cases
which were pending at the time AEDPA became effective. See Lindh v.
Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336, 117 S.Ct. 2059, 138 L.Ed.2d 481 (1997) ("[T]he
new provisions of chapter 153 generally apply only to cases filed after
the [Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty] Act became effective.").
Moormann filed his initial habeas petition in July 1991, and an amended
petition in September 1993, both well before AEDPA's effective date of
April 24, 1996. Id. at 322, 117 S.Ct. 2059. The provisions of chapter
154, dealing with special habeas corpus proceedings in capital cases, do
not apply unless a state "opts in" by establishing a statute or court
rule for the appointment and compensation of competent counsel in state
post-conviction proceedings brought by indigent capital prisoners. See
28 U.S.C. 2261(b). It is undisputed that Arizona has not "opted in."
Thus, neither the general nor the capital case provisions of AEDPA apply
to this case.
The parties, as is to be expected under the our pre-AEDPA
capital habeas jurisprudence, devote a great deal of time to discussing
whether Moormann's various claims can be considered in federal court, or
whether they have been forfeited by his failure to bring them in state
court, or by his having presented them in a manner that invokes state
procedural bars to their consideration by the state supreme court. See
Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365, 115 S.Ct. 887, 130 L.Ed.2d 865
(1995). Although we affirm the district court's dismissal of most of the
claims, we observe that some of Moormann's federal claims were never
properly litigated in state court, but were handled by counsel with a
conflict of interest. Moormann thus presents some claims of ineffective
assistance of appellate counsel that appear colorable on this limited
record. We therefore vacate the district court's judgment and remand for
further proceedings on those claims.
The facts are set out in all their lurid detail in
the Arizona Supreme Court's opinion on direct appeal. State v. Moorman,
154 Ariz. 578, 744 P.2d 679 (1987). Moormann appeals his conviction for
the murder of his adoptive mother during a furlough from state prison.
Moormann was apprehended after his strange and inconsistent behavior
came to the attention of the local police.
In January 1984, Robert Moormann was incarcerated in
the Arizona State Prison in Florence, Arizona, serving a sentence of
nine years to life for kidnapping. Moormann's adoptive mother, Roberta,
then age 74, traveled by bus on Thursday, January 12, to visit with
Moormann during a 72-hour furlough. They checked into the Blue Mist
Motel in Florence.
At about seven a.m. the next morning, Friday, January
13, 1984, Moormann called Marianne Southworth, the friend who had
brought Roberta to the prison from the bus depot, and told her that when
she came to the motel that afternoon, he would like her to take him to
Mesa so that he could see a lawyer. Sometime between six and seven-thirty
a.m., Moormann walked to a store where he purchased a buck knife, a
steak knife, and some food. Shortly after eight a.m., Moormann went to a
local pizza parlor owned by a former prison guard, where he bought a
soda. He told the owner that he was on furlough with his mother, that
she was not feeling well, but that they would come back that evening for
At about nine a.m., Moormann went to the front desk
of the Blue Mist and asked the owner to hold both maid service and phone
calls because his mother was ill. At around this time, he also
approached the owner's wife, asked her not to come to the room because
his mother was sick, and asked to borrow some disinfectant spray. She
testified that Moormann smelled horrible, that he had some blood on his
face, and that some towels he later left outside his room smelled so bad
that she threw them away.
When Roberta's friend, Marianne
Southworth, arrived that afternoon with Roberta's suitcase, Moormann
told her that his mother had been gone since he returned from getting
her a salad at ten that morning. Moormann also said that his mother had
asked him to dispose of some garbage bags. Marianne refused to help
dispose of the bags. She noticed that Roberta's purse was still in the
motel room and that the room was extremely cold because the air
conditioning was turned up all the way. At around four p.m., Moormann
called Marianne at her home and asked whether his mother had called.
At about four-thirty p.m., Moormann approached the
motel owner and asked him whether the garbage would be collected the
next morning. When the owner told Moormann that the garbage would not be
collected until Monday morning, Moormann explained that his mother had
bought some meat that spoiled and he needed to throw it out. During the
evening, Moormann asked a liquor store clerk and the pizza parlor owner
whether he could dispose of spoiled meat or animal guts in their
dumpsters. Both refused.
Acting on a tip from the suspicious pizza parlor
owner, two Florence police officers went to the Blue Mist at around ten-thirty,
where they knocked on Moormann's door and explained that they had heard
his mother was ill and they wanted to check on her welfare. Moormann
told them that his mother had been sick that morning but, after feeling
better, had gone visiting with a Mexican woman at about six p.m. He said
that he had not heard from her since, and that he was very worried.
Moormann was wearing only a pair of unzipped trousers and a belt.
The officers looked in the motel's
dumpsters, but did not see anything suspicious. They left the motel and
went to the prison, where they got a partial description of Roberta.
They then returned to the motel, where they parked in front of
Moormann's room. About five minutes later, Moormann came out of his room
and approached the police car. The officers asked if his mother had
returned, and when he said no they asked him for a physical description
of his mother.
Moormann expressed concern that his mother had not
returned because she had not taken her medication with her. When two
other officers arrived at the motel a few minutes later, he insisted on
taking them into the room to show them his mother's medication. Moormann
told the officers that his mother had sent him to the U-Totem to buy a
knife for her to give to a friend, and that when he returned his mother
was gone. This version of events contradicted his earlier story.
Moormann also told one of the officers that a friend had given him some
cow guts, that he had been trying to get rid of them, and that he had
eventually flushed them down the toilet.
Sometime between ten-thirty and eleven p.m., Moormann
asked a corrections officer, whom he encountered in the motel parking
lot, where he could dispose of twenty-five pounds of spoiled hamburger
meat that his parents had brought with them. The officer suggested that
he call the officer in charge of his unit at the prison.
At twelve-twenty a.m. on Saturday the 14th, Moormann
called the lieutenant in charge of his prison unit and asked for help.
He said that his cousin had dropped off some dog bones a couple of days
earlier and that he needed to get rid of them and some other stuff, that
his mother was out visiting, and that the dumpster at the motel was
full. The lieutenant agreed to help and came by about ten minutes later.
Moormann put a box in the bed of the lieutenant's truck. He then asked
for a ride back to the prison so that he could get something out of his
living quarters. The lieutenant refused, returned to the prison and put
the box, in which he could see some clean bones, out by the dumpster. At
around one-thirty a.m., when he received a call from the police saying
that Moormann had been acting suspiciously, asking to throw out spoiled
meat, and that Moormann's mother was apparently missing, the lieutenant
told the police about the box he had picked up. He and a policeman
opened the bags in the box and found what looked like human bones and
tissue. The policeman took the box to a hospital for analysis.
After their second conversation with
Moormann, the officers went back to their car to wait. Moormann came out
of his room about fifteen minutes later, around one-thirty a.m., and
crossed the parking lot to the public telephone. The officers called
this activity in to the police captain, who told the officers not to let
Moormann go back into his room. The officers drove their car back to the
front of Moormann's room and asked him if he would like to wait in the
car for his mother to come back. When he said yes, one of the police
officers offered him the front passenger seat and went to sit in the
back seat. For about an hour and fifteen minutes, Moormann sat in the
car, dozing off and occasionally conversing with the officers. At two-forty-five
a.m., two officers from the prison arrived at the Blue Mist and informed
the officers that the bones in the box were human.
The officers asked Moormann to get out of the car,
hand-cuffed him, and told him that he was under arrest on suspicion of
murder. As Moormann was getting back into the car, he said "I wonder if
I need a lawyer. I'll leave it up to you guys whether I need a lawyer."
The officers did not reply. Moormann then stated that he wanted to
confess. The officers told him to wait, that they were on their way to
the police station. About five minutes later, Moormann said "You can
change the charge, she's dead." Moormann told the officers that he had
called the prison because he was afraid they might be mad that his
mother was not with him, and that he had just "lost his cool" when his
mother made him "take his father's place" and "do things he just
couldn't handle." The officers took Moormann to the police station where,
after being read his Miranda warning, he confessed to killing his mother
and dismembering her body. The full text of the confession is included
as an appendix to this opinion.
The police obtained a warrant to search Moormann's
room at the Blue Mist, where they found bedding stained with Roberta's
blood; towels, a washcloth, and a cooking pot stained with blood;
bloodstains on the bathroom walls and floor; a scouring pad with
bloodstains and human tissue; and a buck knife and steak knife. They
also found Roberta's brassiere hanging in the closet with five hundred
dollars in cash safety-pinned to it.
In trash dumpsters at and near the
motel, the police officers found trash bags containing Roberta's thorax,
head, pelvic area, feet and hands, and muscle and skin cut from her
limbs as well as torn strips of towel, a razor, the package in which the
steak knife was sold, and some pajamas. The police found a finger in the
A search of Moormann's living quarters in the prison
revealed a notebook of bizarre writings, including instructions to train
a dog to make bank deposits, a document entitled "last will and
testament" that purported to transfer Roberta's estate to Moormann in
exchange for shares in his business, and a letter purporting to be from
Roberta explaining why she was making the transfer. Roberta's actual
will left her entire estate to Moormann, but stated her belief that he
was not competent to handle his own affairs and placed the money in
trust for his benefit. The executor of Roberta's estate testified that
Roberta was planning to move to Oklahoma to be with her remaining
relatives in April 1984, which happened to be the next time that
Moormann was up for parole.
The medical examiner testified that Roberta had died
of asphyxiation as a result of something being held on her face and
blocking her air supply. He testified that, between twelve hours and one
half-hour prior to her death, she had sustained bruises as the result of
moderate force from a fist or blunt object on her left upper arm, both
breasts, and on her lower back. He also testified that, between two
hours and one half-hour before her death, Roberta was cut by a knife or
other sharp, pointed object once on her right breast and five times on
her right buttock.
The medical examiner found no defensive wounds on
Roberta's hands and found no marks indicating that her wrists or ankles
were bound. However, her hands had been cut from her wrists and her feet
from her ankles, so any such marks may have been impossible to find. The
medical examiner did find bruises in and around Roberta's mouth
consistent with being gagged. The medical examiner noted that the
dismemberment of the body was very meticulous, particularly the cutting
off of the hands at the wrist, the feet at the ankles, and then the
fingers at the knuckles. The entire process would probably have taken
two hours. The medical examiner found no evidence of sexual activity,
and tests run on the sheets and bedspread found no evidence of semen.
While the medical examiner could determine that Roberta was alive when
she was bruised and cut, he could not tell whether she was conscious,
but noted that the cuts would have been painful if she was conscious.
Numerous lay witnesses testified that
Moormann was odd, that he switched conversational topics frequently and
seemed not all there or off in another world. A woman with whom Moormann
stayed while he was on parole testified that he would dress normally
during the day, but wear only black at night; that he claimed to have
ties to the mafia; and that although his mother supported him generously,
he was unsuccessful in his business affairs. His parole officer
testified that Moormann failed to adjust to the outside world because of
frequent fantasies that interfered with daily activities.
The parole officer testified that,
despite his mother's generous support, Moormann was unable to succeed in
business because he was not intellectually capable of success. At the
time that Moormann's parole was revoked, his parole officer recommended
that he be hospitalized, rather than returned to prison. The parole
officer did state, however, that he was never sure whether Moormann was
incompetent or whether he was a con man. Many of the people with whom
Moormann interacted on that Friday reported statements that Moormann
made about his business dealings and family affairs that were untrue. He
told the clerk who sold him the buck knife that it was a gift for his
son, mentioned his dead father to several people as though he was alive
and visiting Moormann on this furlough, and told the liquor store clerk
that he was married and that his mother had recently died of cancer.
The defense called one expert witness, Dr. Overbeck,
a psychologist who interviewed Moormann for almost ten hours in five
sessions, gave him psychological tests, and reviewed his lengthy medical
history and school and prison records. Dr. Overbeck concluded that
Moormann suffers from organic delusional syndrome, pedophilia, and
schizoid personality disorder, and that he was unable to appreciate the
nature and consequences of his actions when he killed his mother. Dr.
Overbeck also noted that a delusional diagnosis is difficult because it
depends on whether or not you believe Moormann's allegations of an
incestuous relationship with his mother.
The state called three expert
witnesses. Dr. Cleary, a court-appointed expert psychiatrist, diagnosed
Moormann as suffering from pedophilia and antisocial personality
disorder. Dr. Cleary stated that he did not believe that Moormann was
unable to understand and appreciate the nature of his actions, although
his subsequent knowledge of Moormann's bizarre writings and some of his
statements on the day of the crime made him less certain of his
conclusion. Dr. Tuchler, a board-certified forensic psychiatrist who had
diagnosed Moormann on four prior occasions beginning in his teens,
testified that Moormann does not suffer from organic delusional syndrome.
Dr. Tuchler testified that Moormann is a pedophile with anti-social
personality disorder, but that he is capable of under-standing the
nature of his actions.
However, Dr. Tuchler believed Moormann,
who told him that he had an incestuous relationship with his mother,
that he had sex with her that night, that she wanted her breasts pinched,
and that she was making noises and he put a pillow over her face so that
he would not hear her. Dr. Tuchler testified that he believed Roberta's
death was accidental. Dr. Buchsbaum, a board-certified neurologist who
examined Moormann, testified that while he found no evidence of an
organic brain defect, he could not rule out the possibility.
After two hours of deliberation, the jury found
Moormann guilty of first-degree murder, rejecting his insanity defense.
The trial judge received a pre-sentencing report and held a sentencing
hearing, at which Moormann's counsel argued that Moormann's inability to
fully understand his actions and record of good conduct in prison
weighed in favor of a life sentence. The trial judge found three
statutory aggravating factors (prior life sentence, pecuniary motive,
and cruel, heinous, or depraved murder) and one mitigating factor (diminished
ability to understand actions) and sentenced Moormann to death. After an
unsuccessful direct appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court and two
unsuccessful state post-conviction relief petitions, Moormann filed this
federal habeas corpus petition.
There are, from a procedural standpoint, essentially
three different categories of claims before us. The first are claims
that the district court rejected on the merits after concluding that
they had been properly exhausted. We affirm the district court on the
merits of those claims. The second are claims that the district court
properly refused to hear because of procedural irregularities in
presentation to the state court. We affirm the dismissal of those claims.
The third category are claims for which we conclude the petitioner has
established sufficient cause to excuse the procedural irregularities in
presentation to the state court. We vacate the district court's judgment
and remand for further proceedings on a limited number of claims falling
into the third category.
II. CLAIMS THE DISTRICT COURT REACHED ON THE MERITS
Moormann raised four claims that the
district court denied on the merits: whether he was provided a full and
fair opportunity to litigate his Fourth Amendment claims; whether the
state courts constitutionally applied two aggravating factors in
imposing his death sentence; whether his counsel was ineffective for
failing to argue proportionality in his direct appeal; and whether the
state courts properly considered all mitigating evidence. We affirm the
district court's judgment on these issues.
Moormann challenges the validity of
the search warrant pursuant to which the Florence police officers
searched his hotel room. The Fourth Amendment requires that a search
warrant specify the items to be seized with sufficient precision for the
person conducting the search to identify the items for which seizure is
authorized. United States v. Stubbs, 873 F.2d 210, 211 (9th Cir.1989).
The warrant pursuant to which the Florence police searched Moormann's
hotel room did not indicate what items were to be seized, but the
affidavit supporting the warrant did describe the items in detail. The
trial court found that, while the affidavit was not attached to the
warrant, the officer who executed the affidavit was present for all
material parts of the search. The court therefore admitted all material
evidence described in the appropriately limiting affidavit. See Center
Art Galleries-Hawaii, Inc. v. United States, 875 F.2d 747, 750 (9th
Cir.1989), overruled on other grounds by J.B. Manning Corp. v. United
States, 86 F.3d 926, 927 (9th Cir.1996). The Arizona Supreme Court
affirmed, relying on these same factual findings and holding that any
evidence outside the proper scope of the warrant that the trial court
admitted was harmless in light of its insignificance to the case and the
overwhelming evidence of Moormann's guilt. Moorman, 744 P.2d at 684-85.
If the state has provided a state prisoner an
opportunity for full and fair litigation of his Fourth Amendment claim,
we cannot grant federal habeas relief on the Fourth Amendment issue.
Stone v. Powell,
428 U.S. 465 , 494, 96 S.Ct. 3037, 49 L.Ed.2d 1067 (1976).
Moormann contends that he did not have a full and fair opportunity to
litigate his warrant challenge because the state court's factual
findings are not supported by the evidence. Moormann was provided a full
and fair opportunity to litigate his state claims, however. He raised
the warrant issue in a pre-trial motion; the trial court held a hearing
on the issue at which Moormann was allowed to present evidence and
examine witnesses; the trial court made a factual finding, and
appropriately limited the admissible evidence to that described in the
warrant affidavit; and the Arizona Supreme Court reviewed the trial
court's decision. Cf. Abell v. Raines, 640 F.2d 1085, 1088 (9th
Cir.1981). The district court did not err in denying Moormann's petition.
Moormann alleges that the state courts
did not constitutionally apply certain aggravating factors in the
Arizona death penalty statute because the record does not support the
finding of those factors. Moormann specifically objects to the state
courts' application of two aggravating factors ? that the murder was
committed for pecuniary gain, and that the murder was particularly
cruel, heinous, or depraved. Ariz.Rev.Stat. § 13-703(F)(5), (F)(6).
Federal habeas review of a state
court's application of aggravating factors is limited to determining
whether the state court's finding "was so arbitrary or capricious as to
constitute an independent due process or Eighth Amendment violation."
Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764, 780, 110 S.Ct. 3092, 111 L.Ed.2d 606
(1990). We examine whether, "viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Id.
at 781, 110 S.Ct. 3092 (emphasis in original) (internal quotations and
Under Arizona law, a finding that a murder was
motivated by pecuniary gain for purposes of section 13-703(F)(5) must be
supported by evidence that the pecuniary gain was the impetus for the
murder, not merely the result of the murder. State v. Kayer, 194 Ariz.
423, 984 P.2d 31, 41 (1999). The evidence presented at Moormann's trial
and sentencing hearing was conflicting. Several witnesses testified that
Roberta had supported Moormann generously, pouring tens of thousands of
dollars into unsuccessful business ventures, and that Roberta was
supportive of and had a close relationship with her adoptive son. The
police found five hundred dollars in cash undisturbed in Roberta's
brassiere, which was found hanging in the closet of the room where she
was killed. The executor of Roberta's estate, however, revealed that her
will left her estate in trust to Moormann because she believed he was
not competent to handle his own affairs, and that Roberta was planning
to move to Oklahoma to be with relatives.
Moormann's parole officer testified that it would
have been possible for Moormann to be paroled to Oklahoma, but only if
his mother agreed to be responsible for him there. A search of
Moormann's prison living quarters revealed a handwritten document, in a
notebook of other writings, entitled "last will and testament." That
forged document purported to transfer all of Roberta's property to
Moormann in exchange for two hundred shares of stock in his business.
The notebook also contained a letter purporting to be from Roberta to
Moormann, explaining why she wanted to make the transfer. A reasonable
fact-finder could have found that Moormann murdered Roberta for
The (F)(6) aggravating factor, that
the murder was committed in an especially cruel, heinous, or depraved
manner, is disjunctive, and need only be supported by evidence of one of
the three. State v. Hyde, 186 Ariz. 252, 921 P.2d 655, 683 (1996). In
this case, the trial and appellate courts seem to have relied upon
cruelty, rather than heinousness or depravity. To find cruelty, the
court must find beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was conscious
during the attack and that the defendant knew or should have known that
the victim would suffer. State v. Trostle, 191 Ariz. 4, 951 P.2d 869,
883 (1997). The Arizona courts have upheld findings of cruelty based on
a showing that the victim suffered mental anguish or fear. State v.
Wallace, 151 Ariz. 362, 728 P.2d 232, 237 (1986).
The medical examiner testified that
Roberta had been bruised and cut in the hours before her death, and that
these bruises and particularly the larger cuts would have been painful
if she was conscious when they were inflicted. The medical examiner was
not able to determine whether Roberta was conscious when they were
inflicted, nor was he able to find evidence that Roberta's wrists or
ankles had been bound. The medical examiner did find bruises in and
around Roberta's mouth consistent with being gagged, and the police
found strips of bloody, torn towel in the trash bins where Moormann
disposed of Roberta's body. In Moormann's confession, he told the police
that he and Roberta had argued, that he had hit her during the argument,
that he had tied her up, and that she had continued to talk to him while
she was tied up until he held a pillow over her face and suffocated her.
Moormann also mentioned, in his confession, that he disposed of a razor
blade that he had used to cut Roberta. On the basis of this evidence, a
rational fact-finder could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that
Roberta suffered physical and/or mental anguish before she died. We
affirm the district court's denial of Moormann's habeas petition on
these sentencing issues.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
on Direct Appeal in Failing to Present Proportionality Argument
In order to establish that counsel's
assistance was sufficiently defective to require reversal, the defendant
must show that counsel's performance was deficient and that the
deficiency prejudiced the defendant. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
668, 686, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). Moormann argues that he
was prejudiced by his counsel's failure to argue that his death sentence
was disproportionate. At the time of Moormann's appeal, the Arizona
Supreme Court considered the proportionality of each death sentence as
part of its independent review of the propriety of death sentences.
State v. White, 168 Ariz. 500, 815 P.2d 869, 884 (1991). This process
was so inexact and problematic, however, that the court abandoned it in
1992. State v. Salazar, 173 Ariz. 399, 844 P.2d 566, 583-84 (1992). This
alone suggests that Moormann's appellate counsel made a reasonable
tactical choice in omitting this argument, particularly given the
disturbing nature of Moormann's crime. In addition, the Arizona Supreme
Court actually conducted a proportionality review sua sponte as part of
its independent review of Moormann's sentence. Moorman, 744 P.2d at 688.
Therefore, even if Moormann's counsel was deficient in failing to
present proportionality arguments on review, he was not prejudiced by
this failure. We affirm the district court's denial of relief on this
Failure to Consider Mitigating Evidence
Moormann also contends that the state
courts failed to "consider and give effect to all relevant mitigating
evidence" that he offered, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Eddings
v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104, 110, 102 S.Ct. 869, 71 L.Ed.2d 1 (1982).
However, the trial court need not exhaustively analyze each mitigating
factor "as long as a reviewing federal court can discern from the record
that the state court did indeed consider all mitigating evidence offered
by the defendant." Clark v. Ricketts, 958 F.2d 851, 858 (9th Cir.1991) (citation
Moormann contends that the trial court failed to
consider his ability to adapt to prison life and his childhood and
family background. Although Moormann's counsel did not expressly argue
that this evidence, which was contained in the trial and sentencing
record, constituted mitigation, the trial court explicitly stated that
it would consider all evidence presented at trial, in the pre-sentencing
report, and at sentencing in rendering its sentencing decision. This
court may not engage in speculation as to whether the trial court
actually considered all the mitigating evidence; we must rely on its
statement that it did so. Smith v. McCormick, 914 F.2d 1153, 1166 (9th
III. CLAIMS THAT WERE NOT EXHAUSTED AND ARE
Moormann raised the following claims
in his habeas petition, and urges this court to order the district court
to address their merits, even though he did not raise them in any of his
state court proceedings. These claims are procedurally barred.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel at Trial
In his habeas petition, Moormann argued that his
trial counsel was ineffective because he called only one expert witness
to support Moormann's insanity defense, because trial counsel elicited
prejudicial information from that witness, and because counsel failed to
provide that witness with critical information on Moormann's background.
(The district court denominated this claim 12A.) The district court
found that this claim had never been presented in state court. Moormann
contends that the operative facts of this claim were identified in the
trial court, and that he argued in his second petition for post-conviction
relief (PCR) his trial counsel's ineffectiveness for presenting his
insanity defense through only one expert. Moormann did not claim, in
either his direct appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court or in his first
PCR, that his counsel was ineffective in presenting the insanity defense.
Because Moormann could have presented this claim in those proceedings,
Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2 barred its review in future
state proceedings. Even in his second Rule 32 petition, he failed to
establish that there was any available expert witness who could have
materially assisted the defense.
Moormann also alleges that his trial counsel was
ineffective as a result of:
• counsel's refusal to allow Moormann
to testify (claim 12D in the district court)
• counsel's refusal to stipulate to the victim's
identity and the resulting introduction of a photograph of the victim's
severed head (claim 12E in the district court)
• counsel's failure to object to irrelevant and
prejudicial information about the victim (claim 12F in the district
• counsel's failure to object to prosecutorial
misconduct (claim 12G in the district court)
• counsel's failure to request a jury instruction
that the jury should consider the elements of the crime before
considering insanity or to object to the prosecutor's contrary
suggestion in closing arguments (claim 12H in the district court)
Moormann contends that the facts of these claims were
present in the state record and that they are fundamentally the same as
the claims he did present in state court ? that his "counsel was
ineffective for failing to investigate and present a viable defense." He
does not contend that these more specific claims were presented in any
state proceeding, and indeed they were not.
Moormann points out that we have held that, so long
as the petitioner presented the factual and legal basis for his claims
to the state courts, review in habeas proceedings is not barred. E.g.,
Chacon v. Wood, 36 F.3d 1459, 1467-68 (9th Cir.1994). This does not
mean, however, that a petitioner who presented any ineffective
assistance of counsel claim below can later add unrelated alleged
instances of counsel's ineffectiveness to his claim. See Carriger v.
Lewis, 971 F.2d 329, 333 (9th Cir.1992) (en banc). Rather, this rule
allows a petitioner who presented a particular claim, for example that
counsel was ineffective in presenting humanizing testimony at sentencing,
to develop additional facts supporting that particular claim. See Weaver
v. Thompson, 197 F.3d 359, 364 (9th Cir.1999). Moormann did not present
these claims of ineffective assistance in state court, and we cannot
address them on habeas review.
Ineffective Assistance of Sentencing Counsel
Moormann asserts that his sentencing
counsel was ineffective for:
• failing to present evidence or argument that
Moormann was severely mentally ill and the victim's death was
accidental, neither motivated by a desire for pecuniary gain nor cruel,
heinous, and depraved (claim 16D in the district court)
• failing to object to certain opinions of the
victim's family (claim 16E in the district court)
• failing to object to the trial court's restriction
on mitigation (claim 16F in the district court)
• failing to object to information in the pre-sentence
report or provide information for the report (claim 16G in the district
court) Moormann contends that the substance of these claims was
presented in his first PCR, in his allegation that his counsel failed to
represent him adequately at sentencing. Moormann's first PCR claimed
that his sentencing counsel was ineffective for failing to call
witnesses who would testify to his "character and upbringing" and
refusing to allow Moormann to testify in an attempt to mitigate the
impact of his prior conviction. These claims were neither covered by the
arguments of the first PCR nor asserted in the second PCR. Because these
claims were never presented in any state court proceeding, they cannot
be addressed by the federal courts. The district court's dismissal of
these claims was proper.
Issues Moormann Argues Were Exhausted by
Fundamental Error Review
At the time of Moormann's direct
appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court was required by statute to review
independently the trial record for fundamental errors affecting the
judgment and sentence, whether or not the defendant alleged those errors
on appeal. Ariz.Rev.Stat. § 13-4035 (1987) (repealed); State v. Brewer,
170 Ariz. 486, 826 P.2d 783, 790 (1992). The Arizona Supreme Court
conducted this review in Moormann's case. Moorman, 744 P.2d at 684 (reviewing
the validity of the search warrant even though Moormann did not raise it
on appeal because of the court's "duty to search the record for
fundamental error"). Moormann asserts that this independent review by
the Arizona Supreme Court constitutes full and fair presentation of his
federal claims and that several of them are therefore not procedurally
defaulted. We have
explicitly rejected this argument. Martinez-Villareal v. Lewis, 80 F.3d
1301, 1306 (9th Cir.1996); Poland v. Stewart, 117 F.3d 1094, 1105 (9th
Cir.1997). Where the parties did not mention an issue in their briefs
and where the court did not mention it was considering that issue sua
sponte, there is no evidence that the appellate court actually
considered the issue, regardless of its duty to review for fundamental
error, and the issue cannot be deemed exhausted.
Issues Moormann Argues Were Exhausted
by Arizona's Mandatory Independent Review of Death Sentences
At least as of the time of Moormann's direct appeal,
the Arizona Supreme Court independently reviewed the propriety of all
death sentences, examining the trial court's findings on aggravating and
mitigating factors and independently reweighing those factors to
determine whether the death sentence is appropriate. State v. Watson,
129 Ariz. 60, 628 P.2d 943, 945-46 (1981).
Moormann contends that this independent review served
to exhaust the following claims: that his counsel was ineffective at
sentencing; that two of the aggravating factors are unconstitutional;
that prejudicial information was considered at sentencing; that he was
denied a jury trial on facts that increased his sentence; that the
Arizona statute fails to adequately channel sentencing discretion; that
the Arizona statute contains an unconstitutional presumption of death;
that the Arizona statute unconstitutionally mandates a sentence of death;
that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment; that the Arizona
death penalty is discriminatory; that the Arizona Supreme Court failed
independently to review and reweigh mitigation and aggravation evidence;
and that the death sentence is imposed arbitrarily and capriciously.
These issues are not included in the scope of the Arizona Supreme
Court's independent review of the death sentence as defined by that
court, and therefore were not exhausted.
IV. CLAIMS WHERE PETITIONER HAS SHOWN CAUSE
Moormann was represented by three different attorneys
in his state proceedings: Thomas Kelly at trial, Robert Cimino on direct
appeal and during his first petition for post-conviction relief (PCR),
and Allen Gerhardt during his second PCR. In the first PCR, prepared by
Cimino, Moormann alleged a number of errors at trial and sentencing that
were not included in his direct appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court. The
trial court dismissed Moormann's first PCR for this reason, because
Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.2 bars the assertion, in a PCR
proceeding, of any claim that could have been part of a prior proceeding.
Cimino then moved the court for the appointment of another attorney who
would be able to assert that Cimino was ineffective in failing to raise
these issues in the direct appeal. The trial court refused, but did
appoint another attorney, Gerhardt, when Moormann filed a second PCR pro
se. Gerhardt filed an amended second PCR petition, in which he alleged
that Cimino was ineffective for failing to file an adequate motion for
reconsideration after the first PCR petition was denied, for failing to
appeal denial of the first PCR petition, and for failing to present
certain other, specifically enumerated, issues of alleged error at trial
and sentencing. The state court denied the second PCR on Rule 32.2
Moormann now contends that Cimino could not have
argued his own ineffectiveness in the first PCR proceeding, and that the
trial court's failure to appoint a new attorney to argue that Cimino's
ineffectiveness constitutes cause for the default of those issues Cimino
did not raise in Moormann's direct appeal.
A prisoner who fails to comply with state procedures
cannot receive federal habeas corpus review of a defaulted claim unless
the petitioner can demonstrate either cause for the default and
resulting prejudice, or that failure to review the claims would result
in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Coleman v. Thompson,
501 U.S. 722 , 750, 111 S.Ct. 2546, 115 L.Ed.2d 640 (1991).
"Cause" must be something external to the petitioner. Id. at 753, 111
S.Ct. 2546. Attorney ignorance or inadvertence is not cause, but
attorney error rising to the level of an independent constitutional
violation (in the form of ineffective assistance of counsel) does
constitute cause. Id. at 753-54, 111 S.Ct. 2546. In several cases, we
have rejected arguments similar to Moormann's on the ground that,
because there is no Sixth Amendment right to counsel in state post-conviction
proceedings, there can be no independent constitutional violation as a
result of post-conviction counsel's incompetence. See Ortiz v. Stewart,
149 F.3d 923, 933 (9th Cir.1998); Nevius v. Sumner, 105 F.3d 453, 459-60
(9th Cir.1996); Martinez-Villareal, 80 F.3d at 1306. Moran v. McDaniel,
80 F.3d 1261, 1271 (9th Cir.1996); Bonin v. Calderon, 77 F.3d 1155, 1159
Moormann's claim that cause excuses his procedural
default is, however, not grounded on allegations of Cimino's
ineffectiveness in his role as Moormann's counsel during his first PCR
petition. Rather, the claim is grounded in allegations that Cimino was
ineffective when serving as Moormann's counsel on direct appeal, for
failing to raise various issues that the state courts later found
precluded because they were not raised on direct appeal. There is a
Sixth Amendment right to counsel during a criminal defendant's appeal as
of right. McCoy v. Court of Appeals of Wis., 486 U.S. 429, 436, 108 S.Ct.
1895, 100 L.Ed.2d 440 (1988). Therefore, if Cimino was constitutionally
ineffective in failing to present these claims on direct appeal,
Moormann may have demonstrated cause sufficient to overcome the
procedural bar. Cf. Manning v. Foster, 224 F.3d 1129, 1135-36 (9th
Cir.2000). Cimino was not trial counsel and should have had no conflict
of interest in raising ineffective claims on direct appeal. He was,
however, conflicted in the presentation of the first PCR petition,
because he had been counsel on direct appeal.
Moormann raises a number of issues he claims Cimino
was ineffective in failing to present on direct appeal.
If Moormann had, after the denial of his first PCR petition, come into
federal court and asserted on habeas review that Cimino was incompetent
in failing to raise those issues during either direct appeal or the
first PCR, the procedural bar to the claims of ineffectiveness on
Cimino's part may have been excused for cause. Instead, after Moormann's
first PCR petition was denied as procedurally barred, Cimino filed a
motion, in state court, asking for the appointment of new counsel to
assert Cimino's ineffectiveness in failing to raise those claims on
direct appeal. The trial court at that time refused. When Moormann filed
a second, pro se, PCR petition, the trial court appointed a different
attorney to represent him, one who was not conflicted in raising
Cimino's ineffectiveness. That counsel filed an amended second PCR
petition, in which he alleged that Cimino was ineffective for failing to
file an adequate motion for reconsideration after the first PCR petition
was denied, for failing to appeal denial of the first PCR petition, and
for failing to present certain other, specifically enumerated, issues of
alleged error at trial and sentencing. Insofar as Cimino was ineffective
for failing to present the issues raised in the first and second PCR
petitions during Moormann's direct appeal, such ineffectiveness does not
excuse Moormann's failure to include, in his second PCR petition, the
additional claims of trial and sentencing counsel's ineffectiveness,
that were raised for the first time in his habeas petition.
Therefore, we conclude that Moormann has sufficiently
asserted cause to excuse the procedural default of those claims that
were presented in his first and second PCR. These claims include, but
are not limited to, the following:
1. That trial counsel was ineffective for failing to
present available evidence that Moormann's statements to the police were
not voluntary because of his mental illness (claim 12C in the district
2. That his sentencing counsel was ineffective for
failing to investigate and call witnesses who could testify to
Moormann's background and childhood (16A, B, and C in the district court)
3. That his sentencing counsel was
ineffective for refusing to allow Moormann to testify at sentencing to
mitigate his prior conviction (claim 16H in the district court)
4. That appellate counsel was ineffective for failing
to present (and thereby both exhaust and save from procedural bar) the
a. Counsel's ineffectiveness at trial and sentencing
in the respects described above
b. That Moormann's right to a jury trial on all facts
that increased his sentence was violated by Arizona's practice of judge
c. That the Arizona death penalty statute fails to
guide the sentencer
d. That the death penalty is cruel and unusual
punishment both generally and as applied in Moormann's case
Cimino's failure to raise these claims constitutes
"cause" sufficient to lift the state procedural bar only if he was
indeed ineffective in failing to raise them, i.e., if the failure
prejudiced Moormann. Claims 4c and 4d have been repeatedly rejected by
the Arizona courts. See State v. Sansing, 200 Ariz. 347, 26 P.3d at
1118, 1131-32 (2001). If the law on those issues changes, Moormann can
file an additional PCR in Arizona state court to address the effect of
the legal change on his case. Ariz. R.Crim. P. 32.2. Cimino's failure to
raise these issues could not have prejudiced Moormann.
We vacate and remand the other claims listed above,
along with any other colorable claims in Moormann's first and second PCR,
to the district court for further proceedings to determine whether there
was prejudice to Moormann in Cimino's failing to raise those claims on
direct appeal. If the district court determines that there was prejudice,
Moormann will have sufficiently shown cause and prejudice to excuse his
procedural default of those claims, and the district court may determine
AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, and REMANDED.
CAPT. HORRALL: Okay now, we'll begin (inaudible) ...
I'll let you guys take case (inaudible) ... (inaudible ? noise).
Okay Robert, you've already been advised of your
Miranda rights, uh, however, I'm gonna' tape record, and since you feel
the need to discuss this, apparently since you've made several
statements, you can go ahead and, if you want to, just ? you can tell us
anything you'd like at this time. Officer Thuesen needs to read you your
rights first. Okay, Don?
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay. You have the right to remain
silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of
law. You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him present with
you while you are being questioned. If you cannot afford to hire a
lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you for any questions if you
wish. If you decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer
any questions or make any statements. Okay, Robert, do you understand
each of these rights as explained to you?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, I do.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, having these rights in mind,
do you wish to talk to us?
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, having these rights in mind,
do you wish to talk to us?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, I do.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, uh, time is now 0318 on, uh,
Saturday, January 14th, 1984.
CAPT. HORRALL: Okay, Robert, would you ? present
during this interview will be, uh, Officer Don Thuesen, Captain T.J.
Horrall and Robert Moormann.
ROBERT MOORMANN: Robert Henry Moormann.
CAPT. HORRALL: Robert Henry Moormann. Would you like
to tell us what happened today?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Well, my mom and I had a ? we had a
argument, and during it I hit her a few times, and then it got worse and
I ? I lost my cool and ? and I tied her up, and she kept on me, talkin'
about things that, uh, pertained to my real family and, I don't remember
the exact time, and I suffocated her. Then I took the 409 and went into
the wash room. I panicked, at which time I dissected her.
CAPT. HORRALL: Where did you do that at?
ROBERT MOORMANN: In the sh-shower and tub.
OFFICER THUESEN: Was that this morning, Robert?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, sir.
OFFICER THUESEN: Now you told me earlier when we were
trying to find her that, uh, you know, while ? while she was missing
that, uh, you got up about 6:30 or 7:00 o'clock; is that about the time
you got up?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I never went to bed.
OFFICER THUESEN: You never went to bed last night?
ROBERT MOORMANN: (No answer)
OFFICER THUESEN: That would have been on the, uh,
night of the 13th?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, sir. Night of the 12th.
OFFICER THUESEN: Night of the 12th?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, sir.
OFFICER THUESEN: Friday night or Thursday night?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Thursday.
OFFICER THUESEN: Thursday night. That would have been
the night of the 12th. Uh, did your mother stay up all night, too?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, sir.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, uh, was it sunup yet? Do you
know, uh, Robert?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I ? I didn't get to check.
OFFICER THUESEN: Didn't pay any attention. Did you,
uh, what ? what did you use to suffocate her?
ROBERT MOORMANN: A pillow.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay. Was that, uh ? was she in the
ROBERT MOORMANN: The bed closest to the bathroom.
OFFICER THUESEN: On the bed closest to the bathroom.
Okay. And then you, uh, you held a pillow over her face?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yeah, and kept it until she was dead.
OFFICER THUESEN: You had ? you had tied her up before
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes.
OFFICER THUESEN: What did you tie her up with, Robert?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I tore a towel up.
OFFICER THUESEN: Tore a towel up? What did you ? what
did you do with the towel after?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I threw it away this morning.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: You threw that away this morning? Do
you know where you threw it?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes. It's probably in one of those
bins where the maids put the stuff.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay. Did you, you throw it in the
trash in the, uh, room there?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I ? I gave it to the maid in ? it
was in a plastic bag I gave the maid this morning.
OFFICER THUESEN: You gave the maid a plastic bag this
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yeah, when I to ? when I to ? when I
told `em that my mom was sick and didn't want to be disturbed, and they
didn't ? instead of, instead of going inside, they had me hand `em the
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, was there anything else in the
bag that you handed the maid?
ROBERT MOORMANN: A razor blade that I used to cut'er
with. I had torn one of the razors I had apart.
OFFICER THUESEN: Uh, the ? there was just, uh, there
was just trash and some, uh ? was there bloody material or anything in
ROBERT MOORMANN: No.
OFFICER THUESEN: Just the parts of the towel and a
piece of razor or one of the razors?
ROBERT MOORMANN: There might be ? I can't remember if
I put that one piece of towel that was kind of bloody in there or not.
There might be. I can't remember.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay, uh ?
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay, uh, Robert, after you
suffocated her, uh, then what happened?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I untied `er and let `er lay there
for awhile. Then I knew I had to do something because I knew that Baker
and Mrs. Southworth was gonna' be there.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Did she show up at one o'clock?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay. What did you do before she
ROBERT MOORMANN: That's when I dissected my mom.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay. When did you, uh ? when you
did that then what did you do ? how did you dispose of `er?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I went down and bought some plastic
bags from, uh, the grocery store.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: From U-Totem er ?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, and I used the knife you have,
so on. And if you look in the fan, the one that's against the far wall,
there's some ? there's some little holes on ? on top.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Uh-huh.
ROBERT MOORMANN: You'll find the steak knife that I
used to cut the bones.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay.
OFFICER THUESEN: Do you know ? do you recall how many
bags, uh, you had to use, Robert?
ROBERT MOORMANN: No.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay.
ROBERT MOORMANN: But I know that on some of the parts
OFFICER THUESEN: You doubled the bags or, uh, you
used two bags on some parts?
ROBERT MOORMANN: But then I decided at first I'd just
cut `er, just ? and put the ? put the arms and legs into bags and then
later on I decided ? I knew if I could ? it would be easier to dispose
of `er; then I dissected her completely. That's when I panicked and
that's the reason I wanted to talk to the Major. There's something I'll
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay.
ROBERT MOORMANN: But I would ?
OFFICER THUESEN: Go ahead.
ROBERT MOORMANN: I would like to have ? you two can
be there. I ? this part I'd like to have off this record.
OFFICER THUESEN: Okay.
OFFICER HORRALL: Okay. (Off the record discussion)
OFFICER HORRALL: Did you flush anything down the
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: What did you flush down the toilet?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Nine fingers.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Fingers?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay. Is that all?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes, sir.
OFFICER THUESEN: Robert, you said nine fingers?
ROBERT MOORMANN: The tenth one I did this afternoon.
OFFICER THUESEN: Now, you say you did this afternoon.
What do you mean by that?
ROBERT MOORMANN: I was, uh, when I was cuttin' `em
off I lost one of `em.
OFFICER THUESEN: I see.
ROBERT MOORMANN: And this afternoon I found that.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Did you flush it also?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Yes.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay.
OFFICER THUESEN: Do you ? do you recall how many
trips, uh, you made to, uh, any of the, uh, trash areas with bags?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Not that I remember. Uh, about four.
OFFICER THUESEN: About four.
ROBERT MOORMANN: `Cause I didn't want people to know
what I was doing.
OFFICER THUESEN: I see.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: After ? wha ? what clothes ? where
are the clothes that you had on when you did this?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Nothin'.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: No clothing?
ROBERT MOORMANN: Nothin'.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: You didn't have any clothes on when
you did this?
ROBERT MOORMANN: No.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Did you want to talk to the Major
ROBERT MOORMANN: Whenever he wants to, yeah.
CAPTAIN HORRALL: Okay. This concludes the interview.
It is 0236 a.m.