Bail denied at arraignment
The Grass Valley man accused of killing his wife was denied bail in his Nevada County Superior Court arraignment Thursday.
Frank A. Zupan, 60, appeared in his orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs Thursday in front of Nevada County Superior Court Judge Julie McManus to be arraigned on charges he kidnapped and murdered his wife Shauneen Zupan for financial gain.
Zupan’s attorney Stephen Munkelt asked for bail to be set for his client, arguing that Zupan had cooperated with police during two searches of his 11-acre wooded property on Retrac Way and is not a flight risk.
“Despite the seriousness of the charges, I would ask the court to exercise discretion,” Munkelt said.
McManus denied Munkelt’s motion, citing the three special circumstances accompanying the murder charge, including in lying in wait, murder for financial gain and kidnapping.
With those special circumstances, Zupan is potentially eligible for the death penalty, and bail is traditionally denied in death penalty cases.
Munkelt said he would file a demurrer motion – his objections to the charges – by 5 p.m. Friday.
A hearing to address Munkelt’s anticipated motion is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court.
McManus said she would reconsider the bail issue after the demurrer motion is heard, should Munkelt request it.
Zupan was arrested Wednesday night for his wife’s death, three months after Shauneen was shot twice in the head and found by a motorist slumped over the wheel of her minivan near the intersection of McCourtney Road and Indian Springs Road.
Investigators had been waiting for key evidence to return from the California Department of Justice crime lab, which helped them cement their case against Zupan, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.
Shauneen Zupan’s two sons from a previous marriage were notified of the arrest late Wednesday.
Adam McMeans, 40, Shauneen’s son from the Bay Area, said Frank Zupan came into the family’s life when he and his brother were teens. When the Zupans married in the mid-1980s, Shauneen Zupan cared for Frank Zupan’s two small boys.
Their mother, Linda Lee Zupan, disappeared in 1981 and her body was found a year later with evidence of stab wounds. The case remains unsolved.
“My brother and I are both deeply saddened that the man we knew and trusted for 20 years to take care of our mother has been arrested for her murder,” McMeans said. “It’s a stunning betrayal, but we’re very grateful to Nevada County and all the fine men and women who have worked so hard to solve this case.”
His mother had been talking about divorcing Zupan since December of 2004 when, McMeans said, she became aware of a relationship he allegedly was having with another woman.
He said Zupan would not have taken well to the idea of divorce because it would have dealt a financial blow to the assets he accumulated through his various automotive businesses.
“The prospect of splitting everything would have enraged him,” McMeans said. “Frank left home when he was 13 and he built up business. He loved his money.”
To contact staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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