Accused killer Jeffery Moretz, in the Collier County jail charged with gunning down his estranged wife in July, wants his red, two-door Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder back.
No clear ownership, no dice, Collier Circuit Judge Fred Hardt told Moretz after a brief hearing Friday.
Moretz, 54, owned the car with his wife, Christine, 53, when investigators say he shot her at Physicians Regional hospital on Pine Ridge Road while she visited a friend, who was a patient there. He then shot himself in the chin in a failed suicide attempt. Moretz faces a second-degree murder charge.
Hardt rejected Moretz’ request for the sportscar, saying it was not his to get back and signing the hastily written and terse order before he left the bench.
Outside the courtroom after the hearing, the Moretzes’ daughter-in-law, Kim Moretz, said Moretz wants the car so he can sell it to pay his legal bills.
“It’s not going to happen,” she said. “It’s blood money. I can’t even begin to say how wrong it is. I think it’s perverse.”
Berry said Moretz probably will drop the matter because he believes his son will get the car in probate proceedings.
All Moretz wants is that his son get the car rather than it be left to deteriorate, Berry said.
Collier County sheriff’s deputies seized the car as possible evidence after the July shooting, but Berry told Hardt that the car is no longer needed as evidence.
The Sheriff’s Office has refused to turn over the car without a court order.
Berry presented paperwork to Hardt showing that Jeffery Moretz’ sister, acting with Moretz’ power of attorney, signed over the car’s title to Moretz on August 21.
Hardt said that was not good enough, pressing Berry on Christine Moretz’ ownership.
“Who had the authority to transfer the wife’s interest,” Hardt asked, repeating the question when Berry did not answer.
“That’s a good point, I don’t know,” Berry said.
The estate of Christine Moretz was not a party to Friday’s hearing and had not received notice of the hearing, Assistant State Attorney Mara Marzano told Hardt.
Jeffery Moretz appeared in court Friday, walking into the courtroom. He is undergoing treatment for a broken jaw and had a tracheotomy tube in his neck. Moretz did not speak.
Moretz was wheeled into court in a wheelchair for another hearing in August.
Connect with Eric Staats at www.naplesnews.com/staff/eric_staats