Murder trial begins: Sean Bryant, Michael McCauley face charges in connection with Stan Norman’s death
The defense attorney requested the judge move his laptop 2 inches so Bianca Price, a key witness in the murder case, could be seen by her ex-boyfriend, one of two men on trial.
Price, dating Sean Bryant in April 2018, testified Tuesday on the first day of trial for her ex-boyfriend. Bryant, 55, faces charges of torture and murder in Stan Norman’s death. Michael McCauley, 45, faces a murder charge in connection with the death. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
The men, arrested around May 2018, remained jailed Tuesday, records show.
Prosecutors in their opening statement focused on the duration of time and different ways 70-year-old Norman experienced the violence that led to his death following his drunken advances on a girl.
Authorities have said Norman was shot with glass marbles from a modified paintball gun, an arrow from a crossbow, doused in alcohol and beaten before succumbing to his injuries. Prosecutors say that aside from those inflicted by Bryant, McCauley arrived six hours afterward and delivered final blows to Norman using a bat.
Defense attorney Kelly Babineau, who represents McCauley, said in opening statements that her client’s involvement in Norman’s death was unwilling and that Bryant threatened her client with his life if he did not strike Norman with the bat as instructed — “harder.”
“There is one person and one person only that is responsible (for Norman’s death),” Babineau said. “That person is Sean Bryant.”
The three men were friends, Babineau said, adding that Bryant and Norman were in the same motorcycle club and active in local veterans groups.
McCauley, Bryant and Norman had spent the day and night prior to Norman’s death, drinking and moving furniture together.
According to District Attorney Jesse Wilson, Bryant drove Norman afterward in the latter’s hummer to Bryant’s girlfriend’s house. Bryant left his guest in the downstairs kitchen, where Price had begun to cook bacon and eggs.
Norman tried to put his arm around Price’s 14-year-old daughter, who evaded his attempt at a kiss and retreated to her room, Price said.
“He was really intoxicated and reached over and put his arm around (her) and leaned toward her and she got up and walked away,” Price said.
Price went upstairs and woke Bryant to tell him to leave and take his friend with him. Bryant asked if something had happened — sexually — and Price said ‘no’ to avoid further confrontation, Wilson said.
“I wouldn’t call it child molestation,” Price testified. “He was just really drunk.”
“Were you concerned Bryant might see it differently?” Wilson asked.
“Yes,” Price said. “I thought Stan was drunk. I don’t think he knew what was going on. I don’t think he was trying to molest my daughter. I don’t think he knew what he was doing.”
Bryant returned downstairs and the men, still inebriated, wrestled playfully following a comment Bryant made about Norman’s lack of manners, according to Babineau.
Price stepped over the men as they scuffled, at which point Norman grabbed Price’s leg and said something to the effect of “I want her,” Wilson said.
“That was extremely disrespectful and angered Sean Bryant,” said defense attorney David Brooks, who represents Bryant, in his opening statement.
‘HE FLIES INTO A RAGE’
It was then that Bryant retrieved the modified paintball gun and began shooting around Norman’s face, Wilson said.
“He flies into a rage, he picks up a paintball gun, starts demanding an apology from Stanley Norman, who is still on the ground leaning up against a cabinet,” Wilson said. “Norman starts to crawl toward the front door, Bryant picks up a crossbow, shoots and impales him, then heads over and starts punching Stanley Norman, yelling at him to repeat, ‘Black man is king.’”
Price and her daughters retreated to a room where they overheard the sounds of violence that eventually left Norman incapacitated, Wilson said.
Bryant left, after handing Price’s younger daughter a gun with instructions to shoot Norman, Babineau said.
According to Brooks, at least six hours elapsed before Bryant returned with McCauley, who the prosecution said would deal Norman his final blows.
At some point, Price left her back bedroom and saw marbles lodged in Norman’s cheek and stomach, an arrow in his buttocks, and the man lying in the entryway, Wilson said.
Price did not call the authorities or anyone for medical assistance, Brooks said, adding that she expressed concerns about what might happen to her daughters if Child Protective Services were to get involved.
“There are going to be some very concerning lapses in the timeline,” Brooks said, adding that’s why the jury should consider all the evidence before determining its verdict.
The trial is expected to take nine days.
Brooks said the jury will see evidence that Bryant performed CPR on his friend.
“Bryant’s intention was to teach him a lesson and take him to (their) peers to be judged, which makes some sense given that they were both active in veterans groups,” Brooks said.
The investigation began April 18, 2018, by the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office after a missing persons call in the Lake of the Pines area was made.
Norman’s body had been in a doorway for two days following his death April 14, Wilson said. His incinerated remains were discovered in the backyard of a property on Cascade Shores.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
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