The murder of 26-year-old Duell Moreland of Monterey will be featured on the Oxygen Channel show “Cold Justice” at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2.
The show, with the assistance of Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) investigators, did its own investigation.
In June 2016, CPSO charged Hartwell Layne Tiffee, 37, of Monterey with Moreland’s murder. Moreland, who lived with his grandparents, disappeared on March 29, 2016. His remains were found later along a bayou off Peale Cross Road.
However, in 2017 a Concordia Parish grand jury declined to indict Tiffee, reporting no probable cause that a crime had been committed.
Because of local recusals, the state Attorney General’s office handled the grand jury proceeding.
“We have not given up on this case and we won’t,” Chief Deputy David Hedrick said.
Captain Philip Webber, CPSO’s lead investigator, said he resisted the first few calls from “Cold Justice” representatives but eventually began to see that they were sincere in their efforts to assist and to investigate.
He said he watched the show and looked into the backgrounds of some of those involved before ultimately, the producers gained his confidence.
“I sent them everything I had about the case,” he said. “They have prosecutors, defense attorneys and investigators with wide experience.”
After some initial contact, Webber and Hedrick went to New Orleans and met the producers, who offered access to private labs and experts.
“And they paid for all of this,” Webber said.
When the “Cold Justice” team arrived in Concordia Parish in August 2018, Webber said they worked from daylight to late at night for 15 days.
One of the show’s stars is Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor in the Harris County, Tex., District Attorney’s office for 21 years before resigning in May 2008. Harris County includes Houston and neighboring communities.
According to Siegler’s website, she has tried approximately 200 cases before juries and lectures nationally on topics ranging from “Final Argument” to “How to Pick a Jury.”
Siegler has secured the death penalties in 19 of 20 capital murder cases and is known as an advocate for crime victims and their families.
Siegler commended the sheriff’s office on its investigation and said investigators have built a solid case.
She was not complimentary of the AG’s office.
“I’ve never heard of such a haphazard, sloppy, unfocused presentation in my life,” Kelly said of the AG’s grand jury work.
She wonders that if the AG’s office doesn’t prosecute the case, who will?
“This is a strong case,” she said. “I’ve been a prosecutor for 21 years. Of the 60 cases I’ve worked on ‘Cold Justice,’ this is one of the strongest.”
Last fall, the AG’s office did not respond to a Sentinel request for comments on the case.
Seventh Judicial District Attorney Brad Burget was recused as prosecutor based on a defense motion. Hartwell Tiffee’s father is police juror Red Tiffee. As DA, Burget serves as the attorney for the police jury.
Judges Kathy Johnson and John Reeves recused themselves because the judge’s office receives funding from the police jury.
Ad hoc Judge Robert Kostelka of Monroe presided over the grand jury proceeding.
Attorney Andy Magoun represented Hartwell Tiffee.