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Mendocino County Today: October 19, 2012

CLOSING ARGUMENTS Today In Norbury Case, by Tiffany Revelle

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Thursday morning in the murder trial of 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 January 24. The jury received its instructions from Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke Wednesday afternoon, and the defense and prosecution were expected to make closing arguments Thursday morning. The jury's first task will be deciding whether Norbury is guilty. If it does convict, Norbury's Ukiah defense attorney, Al Kubanis, will present evidence to support his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity (commonly called an NGI plea), and the jury will retire a second time to decide that matter. District Attorney David Eyster, who is prosecuting the case, asked Behnke Wednesday morning to note for the jury that the defendant changed his plea from not guilty to an NGI plea July 13, three days before he called Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agent Peter Hoyle from the local jail and allegedly threatened to kill him. “You better make sure I stay in here for the rest of my life (expletive), or you're gonna be a dead (expletive),” Norbury said in the recording Eyster played for the jury. Eyster also called to the witness stand Dr. Michael Mabanglo, who testified that Norbury appeared October 25 at his office, where he oversees mental health clinicians, asking for a letter to tell the court in his divorce and child custody proceedings that he had no mental health or alcohol problems. Mabanglo said he explained to Norbury that the clinic was for treatment, not evaluation, but evaluated him anyway using a checklist of questions. The questionnaire asked questions about depression, anxiety and alcohol use, among other things, and Mabanglo said Norbury answered “yes” to three out of four questions about alcohol, when a positive answer to just one would trigger further questioning. He described Norbury's demeanor during the 25- to 30-minute interview as “a little anxious,” which he said wasn't unusual for anyone to feel while undergoing such an evaluation. Answering Eyster's questions, Mabanglo said Norbury didn't seem paranoid, didn't seem to be having hallucinations and wasn't, in Eyster's words, “looking around for cameras.” Kubanis had called to the stand Tuesday Dr. Donald Apostle, a psychiatrist who testified that Norbury was “paranoid (and) feels persecuted,” and that alcohol aggravates the condition. Mabanglo said on the stand Wednesday that he had initially given Norbury a 62 out of 100 on a functionality scale, indicating that he was “experiencing difficulties that were mild to moderate in his relationship, his work and legally.” Asked by Eyster about what the rating meant, Mabanglo said a rating of 59 may have been more appropriate at the time to reflect that Norbury was on “the precipice or the edge of his problems (being) more significant.” Norbury said at the time that he regularly drank two beers a day. Pressed by Eyster on the question of whether an experienced drinker could build up a tolerance to alcohol — an assumption Kubanis had tried to refute in court Tuesday — Mabanglo said a person can build up a tolerance, an issue he is trained to account for. “When I say tolerance … a person takes greater amounts to get the effect they're wanting,” Mabanglo said. “They'll drink more to get the effect that they're after.” It's been clear in the court proceedings to date that Kubanis was trying to convince the jury that Norbury was quite drunk the night of the shooting, while Eyster has been trying to make a case that Norbury had enough of his wits about him to drive well, not stumble or appear drunk to anyone he encountered leading up to the shooting and to shoot accurately. Part of the instructions Behnke read to the jury Wednesday afternoon include a clause in the law that a person who is voluntarily intoxicated isn't less guilty of a crime because he or she was intoxicated. (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

FAMILY LOOKING for Missing Youth in Garberville Area —

Joshua Cowan

The overseas family of a young man named Joshua Cowan is asking for the community’s help in locating him. Joshua Cowan last called family at the end of September stating that he was in Garberville ‘waiting for work.’ His family says that he stays in touch and it is abnormal for him not to contact them. His brother says, ‘[W]e are all very concerned to his whereabouts and a little worried due to the nature of the area.’ Joshua Cowan speaks with a British accent and was born in July of 1993. He is described as having last been seen in Garberville on September 27th. If anyone has any information they can contact the Sheriff’s Office or myself— His family is in Australia or Europe which makes them difficult to contact. His brother, Matthew Cowan thanks everyone for their help and says that he ‘really love[s] the spirit of a small community.’ (— Kym Kemp, Courtesy, Lost Coast Outpost)

MANY LOCALS saw Wednesday night’s spectacular meteor as it cut a fiery streak across NorCal's evening sky at about a quarter to 8. Some say the meteor was accompanied by a sonic-type boom and others who only heard the boom of the meteor's entry into the earth's atmosphere thought the sound heralded an earthquake. The meteor was estimated to have been the size of a Buick sedan before it exploded into a reddish tail. Some astronomers suggest that the meteor might have been part of the Orionid meteor shower; others say it’s too early for Orionid showers.

THE SHEER EPICNESS of the Housing Bubble in One Easy Chart (Courtesy, Illusion of Prosperity —

A NUMBER of Occupy Mendocino members spoke before the County Board of Supervisors on October 16th in Fort Bragg Town Hall. We urged the Supervisors to use their oversight of landtitle matters , including eminent domain to halt foreclosures for the public good and demanding proof of title from the lenders. This would be a means of transferring the troubled securitized loans to the county if they set up a land bank as was done in Detroit. visit audits/101222HR&AI PolicyAuditPublicLand.pdf  According to CJ Holmes-of Home Owners for Justice ( this would bring a new revenue stream to the county since the lenders of Securitized Loans cannot be proven due to forged documents “robo-signed”- assignments and trustee substitutions and the foreclosures based on them that are already in county records prepared by banks and their lawyers. The County could take possession of both the securitized loans and the foreclosures based on them, for just the cost of clerical work and re-issue modified loans to the property owners, thus creating a new revenue stream for the county. Real estate market transactions could return to normal. Low cost credit could be available for county projects. The wealth of the community would stay for our benefit. Please consider attending a Foreclosure Town Hall meeting locally, possibly at the County Board of Supervisors Office on the first Tuesday in November. CJ Holmes will present powerful evidence that the foreclosure avalanche is getting worse as banks are moving all their loan servicing and modifications to off-shore subsidiaries, thereby circumventing the Attorney General Settlement and oversight by the US Government. We urge you to let the Supervisors know you support their use of Eminent Domain. We at Occupy urge everyone to attend FTH, particularly elected representatives as this solution to the foreclosure crisis is a golden opportunity to stop the destruction of our communities, jobs and hard won family finances. — Sincerely, Agnes Woolsey, Mendocino

INDIAN MARATHONS were held in 1927 and 1928 to promote the newly completed Redwood Highway, which began in San Francisco, continued north through Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino and on to Grants Pass in Oregon. The race covered 462 miles and attracted American Indian runners from counties all along the highway and from as far away as Arizona. The top prize was $10,000. (Pictures, Courtesy, Cloverdale High School)

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