Defense attorneys appointed in Nevada County murder case | TheUnion.com

Defense attorneys appointed in Nevada County murder case

Authorities investigating the death of veteran Stan Norman on Friday said they'd located more human remains on Sadie D Drive, making the discovery in a shallow grave near a burn pile where they first found charred bones.

The discovery came on the same day a Nevada County Superior Court judge appointed two defense attorneys for Sean Bryant, 51, and Michael McCauley, 41 — both of whom face a murder charge in connection with the death of Norman, 70.

Sheriff's detectives found the shallow grave after following a lead in the investigation into Norman's death. Assisted by the Human Identification Laboratory at California State University, Chico, authorities found the charred remains in the 13000 block of Sadie D Drive, Lt. Rob Bringolf said in an email.

"The shallow burial site was located near the remnants of a bonfire from which human bones were recovered on a prior warrant service," Bringolf said.

Bryant and McCauley sat before Judge Candace Heidelberger hours before Bringolf revealed the discovery.

The men — who on Thursday refused to waive a legal deadline, forcing attorneys to set a preliminary hearing for them next week — walked back that demand on Friday after Heidelberger appointed defense attorneys for them. They told the judge they'd withdraw their demand for a June 14 preliminary hearing. On that day they'll instead meet their defense attorneys.

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David Brooks will represent Bryant. Kelly Babineau will be McCauley's attorney. Both are from outside Nevada County.

Bryant and McCauley potentially face a death sentence on an accusation of murder with torture. That accusation requires they have defense attorneys with a high level of experience.

The District Attorney's Office has made no decision whether to seek death.

Bryant and McCauley initially refused to waive a legal deadline, forcing attorneys to schedule a preliminary hearing for next week. McCauley changed his decision after Heidelberger told him she'd found a lawyer for him, and that many defense attorneys — especially in murder cases — prefer to wait before advancing to a preliminary hearing.

"I suppose so," McCauley said of waiving his right to a speedy hearing. "Yes."

Bryant, who also faces an unrelated torture charge, wanted a speedy hearing on that count. His attorney on that accusation, Bill Walker, said he'd step down after Brooks' appointment as counsel. Bryant then waived next week's preliminary hearing.

Bryant and McCauley are accused in the death of Norman, who was last seen early April 15.

Authorities said they arrested Bryant May 15 on an unrelated torture charge. They charged him with murder on May 27 after human bones were found in a Sadie D Drive burn pile.

McCauley was arrested June 1.

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