September trial date set for defendants in Stan Norman murder case
A new trial date has been set in the case of two men accused of the murder of 70-year-old Stan Norman.
At a Monday Nevada County Superior Court hearing, the trial, which has been rescheduled already on four separate occasions, was officially set for for Sept. 7.
Sean Bryant, 53, and Michael McCauley, 43, have both pleaded not guilty to the alleged 2018 murder of Norman. Both men face charges of first-degree murder, and Bryant also faces an additional felony torture charge in connection with the case.
A Tuesday trial date had been postponed after the lead prosecutor in the case, Chris Walsh, resigned this month from the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office.
Newly appointed District Attorney Jesse Wilson said that he will now handle the case himself, adding that his office will be fully prepared to prosecute the case on Sept. 7.
Wilson could have filed for a motion for continuance — possibly delaying the trial date beyond September — but did not do so, saying that his office feels as though it is time to move ahead with a trial quickly, both for the sake of Norman’s family as well as to expedite justice in the case.
“Our office is anxious to get this case done, so with respect to this specific trial date in September, we’re ready to go,” Wilson said. “This case really has been going on for a while, and it’s time to get it to trial and obtain justice for this victim.”
On Monday, Sean Bryant’s defense attorney, David Brooks, questioned the new trial date, saying he has previously scheduled commitments to other trials outside of Nevada County.
Brooks said that the new trial date could create a difficult situation, as the trial cannot legally proceed if Bryant does not have a defense attorney present. Nevada County Superior Court could have to assert priority in the case, meaning that El Dorado and Sacramento counties — where Brooks has his other trial commitments — would be asked to temporarily suspend or reschedule those proceedings until Bryant’s trial reaches a conclusion.
“The court has set this trial for September 7, but those cases I have with these other courts could end up making me unavailable … because this is a 2018 case though, this case has priority, as far as Nevada County is concerned,” Brooks said.
The Sept. 7 date might have to be delayed again, the attorney warned, if the other courts asking for Brooks’ services decide to contest Nevada County’s priority in the matter.
“If the court here asserts priority, those other courts can either honor Nevada County, or oppose them, we’ll see what happens … those other courts could end up getting priority,” Brooks said.
Michael McCauley’s defense attorney, Kelly Babineau, did not express opposition to the September date. Earlier this month, McCauley asked for a speedy trial within 60 days, formally withdrawing his time waiver, per his rights under state law.
The next court hearing in the case will be a general pretrial hearing on Aug. 13, when attorneys from all sides will have an opportunity to bring up any outstanding issues related to the case before the trial begins, Wilson said.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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