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Mendocino County Today: October 20, 2012

NORBURY CASE GOES TO THE JURY, by Tiffany Revelle

A jury of six men and six women started deliberation Thursday afternoon in the murder trial of Billy Norbury after nearly three hours of closing arguments from the prosecution and defense. Norbury, 34, faces a murder charge with a special allegation that he used a 30-30 Winchester rifle to kill Andrews, 30, on the night of Janunary 24, 2012. The jury retired just after 3pm, and is expected to take Friday off and continue deliberating Monday. The defense and prosecution gave the jury stacks of evidence to consider, including testimony from nearly 40 witnesses, copious pictures, surveillance videos showing Norbury's whereabouts in the hours before the shooting and court records from Norbury's ongoing divorce proceedings, among other things. District Attorney David Eyster, who is prosecuting the case, made his closing argument first and addressed the jury again after defense attorney Al Kubanis's closing argument, an opportunity afforded prosecutors as they have the burden of proof. Eyster went through a timeline his investigator had established that uses surveillance videos from one of two Redwood Valley bars and from a gas station and witnesses' statements to track Norbury's whereabouts as he drove an ATV around town in the hours before the shooting, from 3:58pm to 9:52pm, when the first 911 call was made. The timeline doesn't account for 15 minutes between 8:45pm, when Norbury was last seen by two witnesses at Vic's Place and when surveillance video showed him arriving at 9pm at Taylor's Tavern, and leaving 42 minutes later. “We call that an opportunity to do bad,” Eyster said of the missing 15 minutes, “an opportunity to seize the rifle … This 15 minutes is critical because you have to ask, how did he get the gun and why did he get the gun.” Eyster argued that Norbury had plenty of time to go to his grandparents' house, where he lived, possibly have a drink, get the gun and hide it behind Taylor's Tavern before going inside for a few more drinks. That, Eyster said, “indicates that a plan is under way,” along with “premeditation and deliberation” by Norbury. Kubanis disputed the point, saying it was more likely that Norbury got agitated at Taylor's Tavern — as an interior surveillance video shows — and got the gun on his way to Andrews' house. Eyster rebutted later that it was more likely he retrieved the gun from his house during the missing 15 minutes. Eyster said either way, “the evidence isn't just beyond reasonable, it's overwhelming that there was premeditation and that (Norbury) used this rifle to murder a man that had no reason to be murdered.” Kubanis argued also that Norbury was very intoxicated that night and that while he may have been capable of having the “intent to kill” required for second-degree murder, he wasn't capable of the premeditation and deliberation required for a first-degree murder conviction. Eyster argued that the evidence showed that no one who saw Norbury that night reported he appeared drunk or was behaving in an unusual or paranoid manner. Kubanis made a point of again trying to discredit the testimony of Brittany Norbury, Billy Norbury's estranged wife, during his closing arguments. Eyster had argued that Norbury killed Andrews because he believed Brittany was seeing him. “She was in a very difficult marriage,” Kubanis said. “Billy, especially given his mental state, presented her with a lot of problems … She certainly had a motive to fabricate with regard to the first phone call.” Brittany Norbury and her friend, Monica Vanoven, had testified on the second day of the trial last week that Billy Norbury had spoken with his wife on her cell phone's speaker January 17, asking Brittany if she knew “Jamar up the road” and threatening to “kick his (expletive) ass.” The prosecution had also played for the jury two voicemails Norbury left for Brittany just days before the shooting, one of them again threatening, the other apologetic and both full of expletives. Kubanis had on Tuesday called to the witness stand Angela Norbury, Billy Norbury's sister-in-law, who said Brittany was “not truthful.” Eyster spent longer cross-examining Angela Norbury than Kubanis spent on direct examination. Kubanis had established that the two women were friends, and that their friendship had “cooled” about the time Brittany Norbury filed for divorce “because of the custody issue when they separated,” Angela Norbury testified. She went on to say she also thought Vanoven was not truthful.

“If Brittany were to say the defendant had called her and left vulgar and abusive telephone messages,” Eyster asked during cross, reading Billy Norbury's vulgarities from the transcripts provided to the jury, “you wouldn't believe her?”

“I'd have to listen to it,” Angela Norbury said.

When Eyster pressed her on the issue, she said she “probably” would believe it because “when Billy drinks, he has no filters on his mouth.” Eyster asked Angela to repeat that statement. She did, and he asked her about her testimony during Billy and Brittany Norbury's divorce proceedings on January 5, when she had testified that Billy had a drinking problem “in the past,” but that she thought he didn't currently, and that she didn't think he was abusive. (Courtesy, Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Celso Madueno
Abel Madueno

HOME INVASION/HOMICIDE in Redwood Valley. 23-year-old Celso Madueno was shot dead and his younger brother, Abel Madueno, 19, badly injured in an early morning home invasion Friday in Redwood Valley. The Sheriff's Department said two armed men — at least one of them wearing a hood and a bandana over his face forced their way into the East Road home sometime before 2:44am when the first 911 call was received. The younger brother, his parents and grandparents, and a younger child live in the house. Celso Madueno entered the main house at the sound of a commotion and was shot dead. Abel Madueno was also shot but is expected to recover. Sheriff's Department spokesman Greg Van Patten said “multiple rounds were fired.” Van Patten also said “marijuana was growing on the property,” but added, “It’s way too early in this investigation to put our finger on what the motive is. Anything is a possibility at this point, and we’re exploring all avenues.” A witness said one of the intruders wore a red hooded sweatshirt and a black bandana partially obscuring his face. A neighbor saw a black Cadillac Escalade SUV leave the area after the shooting, headed northbound on East Road.

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A 19-YEAR OLD Santa Rosa man remained in the Mendocino County jail Thursday after a high-speed chase Wednesday on Highway 101. Matthew Thomas Fudge was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion of officers. The CHP said Fudge drove into oncoming traffic during the pursuit but had not hit any vehicles. The chase began at 2:40pm when a CHP officer observed Fudge driving a blue Chevy pickup at speeds of up to 90 mph northbound Highway 101 near Ukiah. When the officer attempted to stop the truck, the driver accelerated, exceeding 100 mph, the CHP said. The driver evaded a spike strip and continued through Willits, where officers gave up the chase for public safety reasons. Fudge was spotted north of Willits by Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies and Willits police. He was stopped and taken into custody. Fudge did not explain his potentially lethal behavior.

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THE BOY SCOUT'S PERV files contain only one Mendocino County reference to an AWOL soldier named William Charles Garaux. Garaux, in May of 1969, was not only AWOL he had adopted the name of William Francis Elton and was apparently staying with a certain Van Jones of Philo. Garaux, 5'5" and 165 pounds with blonde hair, was also functioning as an assistant scoutmaster for Anderson Valley's Troop 51 until one day in May of 1969 when he picked up three underage girls from the campus of Anderson Valley High School, drove them to the Jones residence in Philo where drugs were subsequently found. Garaux soon disappeared.

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