Finley Fultz said he fired shots during marijuana grow robbery, witness testifies
Nathan Philbrook wasn’t answering his wife’s questions about a shooting at a Penn Valley marijuana grow, so Amber Nelson said she kept pressing the issue.
Philbrook, 34, said that he, Daniel Devencenzi and Finley Fultz — the latter of whom is on trial for murder in Nevada County Superior Court — had traveled July 6, 2014, from Reno to rob a grow. They encountered a man later identified as 27-year-old Isaac Zafft. Someone fired a gun. Philbrook didn’t know if anyone was hurt, Nelson testified Thursday.
“He said that he, they went into the greenhouse,” Nelson testified. “There was a person in there.
“He just kept on saying he wasn’t sure if someone was shot,” she added.
Nelson then searched online for news, discovering that Zafft had been found dead at a Good Enough Court greenhouse, she said.
Philbrook said neither he nor Devencenzi, 33, fired the gun, but he didn’t know about Fultz, 28. Nelson then questioned Fultz when he arrived at their Reno-area home, she said.
“He said that the person was going towards Nathan and then turned around and faced him,” Nelson said Fultz told her. “(Fultz) fired a shot and the person was still progressing toward him. And Finley said, ‘I had to shoot him again to shut him up.’”
Scared for her life, Nelson said she waited until November 2014 to send an anonymous tip about the shooting to Nevada authorities. A detective has said that tip included the names of Fultz, Philbrook and Devencenzi.
Both Philbrook and Devencenzi have pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Fultz has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Nelson’s testimony came two days after Philbrook told jurors he traveled with Fultz and Devencenzi to the Penn Valley grow. On Tuesday he said that he and Fultz had weapons. Devencenzi had none.
Philbrook also said he was inside the greenhouse and Devencenzi was behind him. Fultz was in front of him when Philbrook saw the muzzle flash from a gun.
“He was the only one up that area with a gun — Finley,” Philbrook said.
Under questioning by defense attorney Greg Klein, who represents Fultz, Nelson appeared to contradict portions of her ex-husband’s and her own testimony.
Klein pointed to an interview Nelson gave officers during their investigation into the shooting.
“‘I’ve never heard Finley say anything about anything,’” Klein read from Nelson’s statement. “That’s what you said, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Nelson said, adding later that she meant she never heard Fultz tell someone other than her about the shooting.
Additionally, Nelson said she didn’t help Philbrook find the Good Enough Court grow on Google Maps. However, Philbrook testified his ex-wife did find the grow for him.
Philbrook also testified that he used methamphetamine intravenously, but wasn’t addicted. Nelson said she believed Philbrook was hooked on the drug.
The trial continues Tuesday.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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