Ukiah Daily Journal
A jury of six men and six women started deliberation Thursday afternoon, Oct. 18, 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 Jamal Andrews, 30, on the night of Jan. 24 in Redwood Valley.
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’ 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 3:58 p.m. to 9:52 p.m., when the first 911 call was made.
The timeline doesn’t account for 15 minutes between 8:45 p.m., when Norbury was last seen by two witnesses at Vic’s Place and when surveillance video showed him arriving at 9 p.m. 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.
Brittany Norbury and her friend, Monica Vanoven, had testified on the second day of the trial that Billy Norbury had spoken with his wife on her cell phone’s speaker Jan. 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.
Tiffany Revelle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter@TiffanyRevelle or at 468-3523.