Sean Bryant appears in Nevada County court on murder charge; set to return to court Thursday | TheUnion.com

Sean Bryant appears in Nevada County court on murder charge; set to return to court Thursday

Sean Bryant, accused of murder in the death of veteran Stan Norman, spoke twice to local groups in the days after Norman's disappearance.

Bryant, 51, told groups on April 24 and May 2 he knew nothing about Norman's whereabouts. He was verbally combative, and seemed to promote a personal business while distancing himself from Norman, said Will Buck, post commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2655.

Two weeks after the last meeting Bryant was in the Nevada County Jail on a torture charge. Authorities late Sunday charged him with murder after they found human bones in a Sadie D Drive burn pile.

Witnesses have said Norman, 70, was assaulted and killed at a Sadie D Drive home. Norman was last seen early April 15, officers said.

"Sean came in there and denied knowing anything about where Stan was," Buck said. "He had the audacity to lie to each and every one of us."

Bryant appeared Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court for his first appearance on the murder charge. Judge Candace Heidelberger provisionally appointed the county Public Defender's Office to represent Bryant.

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The judge then set a Thursday hearing to determine if the public defender has a conflict in the case — a possibility Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said likely exists.

"I didn't do it," Bryant said as attorneys discussed his case.

Bryant remained held Tuesday afternoon without bond.

Several people who knew Norman appeared in court for Bryant's hearing. Joe Macaluso didn't know Norman well, but he met him a few times at local veteran and civic organizations.

"One of the nicest people I've ever met," Macaluso said.

Kristen Day, a friend of Norman's, couldn't attend Tuesday's hearing. Contacted afterward, Day said she started a Facebook page used to organize people searching for Norman.

"I was absolutely devastated," she said of learning about Norman's death. "Some of the worst news I've ever heard in my life."

Day also knows Bryant. She remembers the two meetings Buck mentioned where Bryant spoke to the groups. Those meetings, open to the public, were used to disseminate information.

"He cried what we now know are fake tears," she said. "That makes me sick to my stomach. That's another level of evil."

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