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Mendocino County Today: October 18, 2012



The defense called a psychiatrist and other witnesses to the stand Tuesday in the ongoing murder trial for Billy Norbury, who is accused of shooting and killing his Redwood Valley neighbor, Jamal Andrews.

Norbury, 34, faces a murder charge with a special allegation that he used a gun to kill Andrews, 30, on the night of Jan. 24.

Dr. Donald Apostle, who evaluated Norbury for two hours in August, said Norbury has “a delusionary disorder of the persecutory type,” meaning he is “paranoid, he feels persecuted,” and that during a prior incident, Norbury “probably fulfilled the diagnosis of a paranoid schizophrenic."

Apostle also testified that he couldn't get much further than that with him because Norbury denied committing the crime and denied having any kind of mental disorder.

“He says, I didn't do it;' he's very curt,” Apostle said, continuing, “I think he's denying it or lying about it, or at one point I thought he had no memory of it.”

Norbury's Ukiah defense attorney, Al Kubanis, asked Apostle if he had “mentioned [to Norbury] that the evidence against him was strong."

“He still denied it, and he said he didn't have a mental disease or defect,” Apostle replied.

Kubanis asked if it was unreasonable for Norbury to deny having a mental defect or disorder, and Apostle said it was.

In July Norbury changed his not-guilty plea to one of not guilty by reason of insanity (commonly called an NGI plea).

Asked by Kubanis what Norbury said about the NGI plea, Apostle said Norbury “said this is just a technique of buying time, and he wanted to talk to you [Kubanis] about [the plea], and that he wanted to get a new lawyer.”

Apostle also went through a list of other documents he reviewed for his evaluation of Norbury, including statements from Norbury's family and friends who gave examples of his behavior prior to the shooting.

Norbury's mother, Michele Norbury, gave a statement saying her son had claimed “that black guy down the road is doing voodoo on me,'“ Apostle testified.

Apostle said he had also read a statement from Norbury's father, Billy Dean Norbury, who had observed his son at times trying to remove bugs from his body that weren't there, even using a hose to do so.

His grandfather, Billy Joe Norbury, reportedly saw the defendant walking around the house wearing a towel and laughing to himself, Apostle testified.

Apostle also said on the stand that Norbury had told him he had “alcohol blackouts” at a rate of about once a month.

A friend had stated Norbury was “extremely paranoid about being watched (and) thought his phone was bugged,” Apostle said. Apostle went on to say that the paranoia centered around Norbury's belief that law enforcement was watching him because he was growing marijuana, and had threatened to kill agent Peter Hoyle of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force via phone from the Mendocino County Jail.

Apostle also testified that Norbury's paranoia is “aggravated by alcohol,” and that Norbury had told him he'd been drinking at home before going out to two Redwood Valley bars on the night of the shooting.

Kubanis had called to the stand Monday a state Department of Justice criminalist who testified that Norbury's blood-alcohol level was about 0.22 on the night of the shooting, and on Tuesday Kubanis showed video footage of Norbury in Taylor's Tavern and Vic's Place that night.

Kubanis expected to wrap up his case Wednesday morning, at which point the jury would retire to deliberate. If the jury finds Norbury guilty, the same jury will then decide whether Norbury was insane at the time of the shooting.

At that point, Kubanis will be tasked with convincing the jury that it is more likely than not that Norbury was insane at the time of the shooting.

Insanity, under California law, is a legal term meaning the defendant didn't understand the nature or quality of the act, or was incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

EXCUSE ME, DOCTOR, but the symptoms you describe in Mr. Norbury amount to textbook methamphetamine-induced psychosis. This guy isn't nuts, he's a tweeker. Take away the tweek, no paranoia, no murder. Also, from what we can gather, Norbury has demonstrated zero signs of mental illness as an inmate.


THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT announced Wednesday that “a small package of marijuana” was found in the County Jail cell of Jesse Bacon, 51, of Willits. A drug-sniffing dog sniffed out the dope in a toilet paper roll holding a mix of tobacco and marijuana then, proceeding to a suspiciously odiferous sock, discovered six small bundles of tobacco and marijuana, confirmed Lt. Greg Van Patten. Bacon was charged with felony possession of drugs in jail, “and other misdemeanors.”

BACK IN THE MIDDLE 1980s before this jail was built, in nice weather, inmates spent a large part of the day lounging around an interior lawn. Only a see-through fence topped with razor wire separated them from Low Gap Road. Passing motorists would toss tennis balls full of bud over the fence onto the lawn, sending the Jail's committed stoners in a mad scramble for the little care packages.

COMMENT OF THE DAY, PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS: “Right-wing Republicans, free market ideologues, and the left-wing have all indoctrinated themselves with incorrect beliefs about Social Security and Medicare. The right-wing claims that a safety net financed with 15.3% of payrolls is a “Ponzi scheme” and an “unfunded liability.” If that is the case, then so are veterans benefits, military pensions, and federal pensions, all of which are financed by the income tax, the basis for the payroll tax. The left-wing claims that the rich do not pay high enough payroll taxes, because the income subject to Social Security payroll tax is capped at about $110,000. But the benefits are also capped. Social Security is not supposed to be an income redistribution scheme from rich to poor, and it is not supposed to be a pension system for the rich. The pension paid is supposed to correlate with the pre-retirement income level of the retiree. Those who had higher wages or salaries and consequently paid more in payroll taxes receive a larger Social Security check than those who had lower wages and salaries and paid less payroll taxes, although there is favoritism toward the lower income earners who receive proportionally more in respect to their payroll taxes than higher income earners. There is no cap on income subject to the Medicare portion of the payroll tax. Moreover, Medicare charges a Medicare Part B premium that is deducted from the Social Security monthly check. In addition, there is a further Part B premium based on retirement age income. For example, someone working beyond retirement age and making $250,000 per year pays about $3,800 in Medicare Part B premium in addition to the Medicare portion of the payroll tax of about $7,500. The annual premium he pays for his “free” Medicare for which he has paid all his working life with a payroll tax is about $11,300. Moreover, Medicare by itself is insufficient coverage. To actually have medical coverage, those covered by Medicare have to purchase a supplementary private policy to cover the large gaps in Medicare. Depending on the range of coverage, a supplementary policy costs approximately $100 to $300 per month. As the person making $250,000 per year is likely to go for the most coverage, he will be paying about $14,900 (excluding deductions and co-payments) per year for his “free” Medicare. This is despite having paid the Medicare payroll tax each year of his working life. A person who made $250,000 in taxable income per year for 30 years would have paid $217,500 into Medicare at the current Medicare payroll tax rate. The right-wing’s notion that Social Security and Medicare are handouts, part of the welfare state’s bread and circuses, and the left-wing’s idea that the rich get a free ride are equally untrue.”

Mrs. Melo accepts award

FORESTER JERE MELO HONORED With the Francis H. Raymond Award. (CalFire Press Release) — Sacramento – The California State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection posthumously honored Registered Professional Forester Jere Melo with its highest award, the “Francis H. Raymond Award for Outstanding Contributions to California Forestry.” The presentation was made during the Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 in the first floor auditorium of the Resources Building located at 1416 9th Street in downtown Sacramento. Representing Mr. Melo and accepting the award was his wife, Madeleine Melo. The Board recognized Mr. Melo for his dedication to professional forestry in California. Mr. Melo’s career in the timber industry spanned 45 years, primarily as the Chief Forester for Georgia-Pacific in Fort Bragg. He then worked as a contractor for Campbell Timberland Management providing property management services on the 170,000 acres of forestland that they oversee in Mendocino County. Mr. Melo served as an active member of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest Advisory Group from 2008 to 2011. In this capacity, he played an invaluable role in helping to build local support for a program of active management and research on the state's largest Demonstration State Forest. He was also active in the development of the Coast Forest Practice Rules through the Coast DTAC and before the Board. Mr. Melo was a lifelong member of the Society of American Foresters and a founding member of the California Licensed Foresters Association, further demonstrating his strong commitment to his chosen profession. In 1996, Mr. Melo was elected to his first term on the Fort Bragg City Council. He served as Vice-Mayor from 1998 to 2000 and as Mayor from 2000 to 2004. At the time of his death, Jere was in his 15th year and his fourth term of office as a City Councilmember. At the local level, Jere represented the City on the Board of the Fort Bragg Fire Protection Authority for nine years and he was the Chair of the Fire Protection Authority Board. At the State level, Mr. Melo was very active in the League of California Cities. He served as President of the League’s Redwood Empire Division in 2000 and he served on the League Board of Directors from 2003 to 2008. Mr. Melo had a commitment to public service at the County level and for 13 years he served on the Board of the Mendocino County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Mr. Melo loved working in the woods. He was dedicated to keeping the woods safe for timber workers and to protecting forestland from degradation by illegal trespassing, marijuana cultivation, dumping and encampments. The award was named after Francis H. Raymond who was the Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection from 1953 to 1970, and was one of the primary advocates for the passage of the Professional Foresters Law in 1973. Since 1987 it has been awarded to a group or individual who has achieved excellence in forestry in California.

One Comment

  1. wineguy October 18, 2012

    Seems the wrong people are behind bars in Mendonesia. Bacon is just a terminal addict not really a hard core criminal, Norbury is a psycopath of the homocidal persuasion both drugged out and way beyond the pale. The plague of drugs and ‘substances’ have reduced a once robust timber/fishing/agricultural county to a ‘hell hole’ of bums/addicts/sociopaths wandering the lanes and roads ready and willing to get high and go to jail. Where has Obama been the past 4 years on the drug/crime problem? Off his radar so a big nothing, vote for Romney if you want a change, Change you can believe in…

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