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Wednesday May 27th, 2015 6:01AM

Ga. woman convicted of hiding dismembered body

By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ga. (AP) A jury convicted a southeast Georgia woman Friday of helping hide a dismembered body that authorities discovered last year after they shot and killed her husband in a police standoff.

Kimberly Moretz, 43, was found guilty of concealing a death and hindering a police investigation after three hours of jury deliberations in Effingham County Superior Court. Jurors acquitted her on a third charge of evidence tampering.

Prosecutors say Moretz helped hide the body of 35-year-old Charlie Ray in a storage locker in neighboring South Carolina after her husband, Chad Moretz, stabbed Ray to death and cut up his body with a power saw.

A week later, sheriff's deputies searching for Ray ended up in a standoff with Chad Moretz at his home on Jan. 11, 2013. They killed him after he walked onto his porch with a rifle.

Inside the house officers found Ray's severed head and hands in the kitchen.

Ray was a friend of the couple and Kimberly Moretz told investigators she heard her husband attack and dismember him from another room.

Prosecutors said Kimberly Moretz's maiden name was used to rent the storage locker in which the rest of Ray's body was found inside four containers. They said after Ray was killed she told investigators she had dropped him off, still alive, at a gas station.

``When she lies and protects her husband after he's murdered and dismembered a man in her presence, that's inexcusable. That's a crime,'' prosecutor Brian Deal told jurors in his closing argument.

The Savannah Morning News reported (http://bit.ly/1bac0bc) defense attorneys for Moretz argued she was a battered woman who feared her husband would kill her and others if she told authorities about Ray's slaying.

``She would have done anything that man told her to do whether she was with him or not,'' said defense attorney Michael Schiavone.

Schiavone told jurors authorities were prosecuting his client because Ray's killer, her husband, was dead. ``They feel that somebody has to be held responsible for something,'' he said.

The judge scheduled sentencing for Wednesday.
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