Men facing murder charge set for Nevada County court today | TheUnion.com

Men facing murder charge set for Nevada County court today

One of two men facing a murder charge in connection with the death of veteran Stan Norman refused Thursday to waive a legal deadline, forcing a Nevada County judge to set a preliminary hearing for next week.

The case of Michael McCauley, 41, and Sean Bryant, 51, is scheduled to return today to Superior Court on an unrelated issue. Neither man has an attorney for their murder charges, as the Public Defender's Office has recused itself because of a conflict. That led visiting Judge Ira Kaufman to set today's hearing in an attempt to find qualified defense attorneys.

"This is not going to take long," he said of today's hearing.

Both men face a special circumstance of murder with torture, an accusation that could carry the death penalty. That accusation requires defense attorneys with a higher level of experience.

Kaufman on Thursday asked McCauley and Bryant if they'd waive their right to have a preliminary hearing — used by prosecutors in an attempt to establish probable cause. McCauley refused to waive his right to have a hearing within 10 days, leading the judge to set the hearing for June 14.

"These are very serious charges, you understand that?" Kaufman asked. "Sometimes giving the attorney enough time to prepare is a smart thing to do. But I'm not telling you what to do."

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McCauley and Bryant are accused in the death of Norman, 70, who was last seen early April 15.

Officers arrested Bryant May 15 on an unrelated torture charge. He was charged with murder May 27 after authorities found human bones in a Sadie D Drive burn pile, reports state.

Officers arrested McCauley June 1.

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

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