Trial date set for 2 men facing murder charge
Two men who are accused in the 2018 slaying of Vietnam veteran Stanley Norman are set for trial on July 27.
Sean Bryant, 53, and Michael McCauley, 43, are accused in the April 2018 death of 70-year-old Norman. Bryant and McCauley are co-defendants in the case and will face trial together.
The trial date had already been changed three times before the selection of the July 27 date. The proceeding was originally scheduled to begin on Feb. 28, 2020, but was pushed back when Bryant and McCauley’s defense attorneys requested more time to review evidence.
The trial was then repeatedly delayed, as courts were unable to operate normally in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bryant’s defense attorney David Brooks. Brooks added that it was possible that the trial date could even be moved again, due to the backlog of cases the court system is dealing with.
“The courts have been overwhelmed with trials, because they basically couldn’t do trials for a year. They’ve changed it a few times for different reasons, including COVID, so it’s been ongoing and it’s still ongoing,” he said.
Once the trial begins in July, the first stage of the proceeding will be jury selection, where both the prosecution and the defense will have an opportunity to question and challenge prospective jurors.
For this particular case, the entire trial, including the jury selection process, will likely last five to six weeks, according to Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh.
McCauley’s defense attorney, Kelly Babineau, could not be reached for a comment.
In addition to the complications imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the case against the defendants has been slowed down due to a large number of motions submitted by both the prosecution and defense concerning what evidence will be admitted at trial, Walsh said.
While Walsh refrained from commenting as to the specific evidence that would be brought up during the trial, he expressed that prosecutors felt confident about the case that they have been building against the defendants.
“What I can say is that we believe that we have a strong case, and we look forward to trying that case to get justice for Stanley Norman,” he said.
Walsh added that his office would seek the most severe sentence possible for both Bryant and McCauley if they are convicted, due to the particularly violent nature of the crime. The maximum punishment Bryant would receive would be life in prison without the possibility of parole, Walsh said. McCauley could also face life in prison if found guilty, but would eventually be eligible for parole.
“We intend with both defendants to seek the maximum penalty. With the nature of the crime, and from our standpoint, this really was a very egregious case,” Walsh said.
Bryant and McCauley were arrested in May 2018 in connection with the death of Norman at Bryant’s girlfriend’s house in Nevada City. Prosecutors say that Bryant shot Norman with a crossbow and struck him with a baseball bat, with help from McCauley, who aided in beating Norman to death.
The slaying itself is believed to have occurred on April 15, 2018, but the defendants were not arrested until the following month, when Bryant was taken into custody for a domestic violence incident. Authorities then linked Bryant to Norman’s death, and later arrested McCauley as well, reports state.
Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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