2nd murder suspect in death of veteran Stan Norman appears in Nevada County court | TheUnion.com

2nd murder suspect in death of veteran Stan Norman appears in Nevada County court

Nevada County prosecutors say they've made no decision about seeking the death penalty in the Stan Norman murder case, walking back comments made last week.

Sean Bryant, 51, and Michael McCauley, 41, each face a murder charge in connection with Norman's death. They also face a special circumstance of murder with torture — an accusation that carries the possibility of the death penalty.

"We're not making any determinations yet on the death penalty," District Attorney Cliff Newell said. "We don't have all the facts yet."

Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said last week — before McCauley's Friday arrest — that he'd seek a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for Bryant. He later said he spoke prematurely.

According to Walsh, investigators must complete detailed background checks on defendants who potentially face the death penalty. Additionally, prosecutors must examine police reports and criminal records before making a decision.

For example, prosecutors know that Bryant has out-of-state convictions on domestic violence and weapons accusations, and that he spent time incarcerated in the Rikers Island Prison Complex in New York. Other details remain missing, Newell and Walsh said.

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"All that needs to be fleshed out," Newell said.

A decision likely would occur after the pair's preliminary hearing, still weeks away.

McCauley

McCauley appeared Monday for the first time in Nevada County Superior Court on his murder charge.

Judge Candace Heidelberger told McCauley the charges he faces. Moments later McCauley spoke directly to the judge.

"I'm only a witness to this," he said. "I've already come forward and spoken to them."

Heidelberger then advised McCauley against speaking openly before appointing the Public Defender's Office to represent him.

The public defender tentatively is assigned to represent Bryant. Attorneys currently are examining whether any conflict exists in that representation. Both Bryant and McCauley are scheduled to appear Thursday in court on that issue.

Authorities accuse the men in the death of veteran Stan Norman, 70.

Officers initially arrested Bryant May 15 on an unrelated torture charge. They added the murder charge May 27 after finding human bones in a Sadie D Drive burn pile, reports state.

McCauley was arrested Friday.

Witnesses have said Norman was assaulted and killed at a Sadie D Drive home. Norman last was seen early April 15, officers have said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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