Investigators, DA’s office lauded for work
Two jurors in the Frank Zupan murder case said the prosecution’s “mountain of evidence” persuaded the jury to convict the defendant Thursday of first-degree murder.
“The direct evidence was very overwhelming. It was concrete,” juror Cindy Gallagher said. “The main things were the gloves, the DNA, and the evidence at two different scenes.”
During the trial, the jury heard that two bloody gloves were found near the shooting scene at a turnout on McCourtney Road – one with the defendant’s DNA on it and the other with victim Shauneen Zupan’s.
Testimony also indicated that after shooting his wife, Zupan staged an accident one-half mile down the road to throw investigators off.
“The evidence was pretty convincing – the DNA, the gloves and the fact that he was at the (accident) scene with no explanation of anyone else being there,” juror Ralph Merz said.
Basking in victory after his final trial before retirement, prosecutor Ron Wolfson accepted congratulations outside the courtroom from jurors, courthouse employees and law enforcement personnel.
“The congratulations go to the investigators,” Wolfson said. “They made the case.”
He also lauded Nevada County Sheriff’s Office detectives Alicia Milhous and Joe Salivar, District Attorney Investigator Paul Lastufka and the clerical staffs for their efforts.
“The verdict was an indication of the staff’s work,” Sheriff Keith Royal said. “Alicia did a great job as the lead detective on this.”
Milhous, who sat by Wolfson throughout the trial for support, said, “I feel very relieved. … It’s a huge responsibility.
“It’s hard to stay nonemotional in a case this emotional. … I grew very close to Shauneen’s children.”
One of the children, Adam McMeans, said, “We want to extend our gratitude to the people of Nevada County, the Sheriff’s Office and the DA’s office in this most trying of times. You have a lot to be proud of.”
According to Salivar, “We were confident with our case. We thought the defense didn’t have many places to go”
Zupan’s attorney, Quin Denvir of Sacramento, was unavailable for comment.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@ theunion.com or call 477-4237.
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