RUSTY DRAPER: At earlier court appearance. Byron Tate/Sheridan Headlight

Byron Tate reports for the Sheridan Headlight on pre-trial proceedings in the murder case against Rusty Draper, 45, of Prattsville, accused in the January slaying of Austin Moody, a junior at Sheridan High School.

One new detail emerged in a defense motion: Avery Lichty, Moody’s girlfriend, said Draper was “overly interested” in her previous relationship with Draper’s son, Colton, and she said Draper cried when the two broke up. It had been reported earlier that Moody had told his parents in December that he believed Draper had begun stalking him after his girlfriend broke up with Draper’s son. He also believed Draper was responsible for a series of flat tires he’d experienced.


Defense attorneys are trying to suppress statements Draper made to investigators. They followed statements by others that led investigators to focus on Draper.  Among them:

Tammy Lichty also confirmed to the two investigators that after her daughter and Colton Draper broke up a previous time, Rusty Draper came to her house crying. She said Rusty Draper accompanied her to a repair shop when she and her son had flats on the same day in December. She said Draper stayed with her the entire time while her tire was being repaired and that Draper “spoke about Avery and Colton’s relationship the entire time” and that “this made her uncomfortable, and that it was ‘weird.’” Rusty Draper, Tammy Lichty said, “was upset about the break-up.”

The defense is also trying to suppress evidence taken when they responded to an apparent suicide attempt by Draper.  The material included a notebook containing letters Draper had written to his family about fear of going to jail. They also found a .38 bullet consistent with the kind used to kill Moody. The notebook also contained this passage:


“I am back in a corner,” he wrote. “So much stuff went wrong with plans. Cops search house. They look for my guns. Not find what the look for. I not want to live in pin.!! I will not. I backed in corner not know how to get out of. I though about running but not could leave you. I not want to live in jail!”

Other defense motions seek to suppress evidence found in a search of his house and cell phone records and Internet information storage.

Another hearing is scheduled in late November, but no date has yet been set for the trial, which is expected to take three weeks. The FBI is still processing some evidence, the prosecutor said.


Tate’s account in this week’s Headlight follows: