Zupan found guilty
Frank Zupan probably will never walk free again.
He was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Shauneen Zupan, 58, by a Nevada County Superior Court jury that deliberated his fate for a mere two hours.
“He’s looking at 50 years to life without parole,” Assistant District Attorney Ron Wolfson said.
Zupan’s sentencing will be at 3 p.m. April 16.
Wolfson said he did not seek the death penalty. He cited Zupan’s older age, 62, and said he was not confident a jury would be willing to send the defendant to his death.
The nine-woman, three-man jury also confirmed three special allegations in the case: Zupan killed his wife with a firearm; he did it for financial gain; and he was lying in wait to kill her.
Zupan, wearing a dark suit and tie, sat stoically at the table next to his defense attorney Quin Denvir, as the verdict was read in a packed courtroom. He had no visible reaction.
Zupan’s stepson, Adam McMeans, exploded into tears and clung to his wife when he heard the word “guilty.”
“The thing that consumed me is how much we miss our mother,” McMeans said outside the courtroom. “You don’t get over this. … Knowing Zupan is going to be held accountable is the best you can hope for.”
The jury began deliberating Thursday morning after hearing final instructions from Judge Robert Tamietti, who lauded their service to the community.
Zupan, of western Nevada County, was charged with the Nov. 15, 2005, shooting death of Shauneen along McCourtney Road. She was found dead in the driver’s seat of the couple’s minivan.
The Zupans had been married for more than 15 years.
Nobody saw Zupan shoot his wife and no murder weapon was found, Denvir argued during the trial.
Although the gun used to put two .22-caliber slugs into Shauneen’s head was never found, a “mountain of evidence” proved Zupan killed his wife, Wolfson maintained.
The evidence included two wounds in her right hand caused by her attempt to deflect the shots, he said.
The murder trial began March 7, after jury selection was held up by an unexpected snowstorm.
It was the last trial for both Wolfson and Denvir, who plan to retire soon.
Highlights of the trial included:
• An expert at recreating shooting scenes said Zupan’s version of a drive-by shooting that took the life of his wife “was really impossible.”
• A coroner said one of the four bullets that hit Shauneen Zupan caused the most serious damage.
• Shauneen Zupan was a vivacious, loyal woman who was dedicated to her family and cared deeply for the man accused of killing her, her friend testified.
• A neighbor said Frank Zupan had told him he would divorce his wife if she sold her house in the Bay Area to give the money to her sons from a previous marriage.
Editor Jeff Pelline contributed to this report. To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4237.
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