Wednesday Mar 18 2009
Judge expected to decide on Moon motion
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
If new trial denied, sentencing scheduled for Thursday
It will likely be a tense scene in an Auburn courtroom Thursday morning as two families await a judge’s life-altering decision. William “Billy” Moon, 24, of Auburn, is scheduled to learn if whether Judge Larry Gaddis will grant his motion for a new trial or deny the motion and sentence Moon to state prison from 15 years up to life. Moon has been in custody at Placer County jail since he was convicted in October of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the June 3, 2006 death of Placer High School graduate Stewart Shapton. According to prosecutors, both men were riding in a 2004 Infiniti G35 that night when the car launched off a hill on Bell Road just south of Hubbard Road at 103.3 mph, lost control upon landing and slammed into several oak trees lining the side of the road. In defense attorney Dennis Riordan’s motion for a new trial, he argues that the weight of the evidence used in the trial was not sufficient to prove that Moon, if he truly was driving, was aware that he knew his actions were dangerous yet proceeded anyway, which was a factor in the second-degree murder charge. Riordan also maintains that the prosecution violated a criminal code that prevented the defense from presenting “critical” rebuttal evidence. The defense says the prosecution presented an injury on Moon that wasn’t ever there. In a statement provided by Moon’s family, his father, David Moon, stands up for his son. “We are asking Judge Gaddis to grant Billy a new trial in order that he will not be judged based upon what we know to be false evidence,” David Moon wrote. “Billy has a Constitutional and moral right to be judged based upon the truth as it is known. The alternative would be that Billy would have been convicted and then sentenced based upon what we now know to be false evidence." The prosecution has strongly rebutted the defense’s claims. Steven Dragland, supervising deputy district attorney, said the claim that the prosecution failed to provide rebuttal evidence to the defense is “simply untrue and the transcript shows it.” In prosecutor Stephanie Macumber’s opposition to the motion for a new trial, she highlights portions of the transcript where experts called by both sides referenced topics that were argued further during the rebuttal phase of the trial. Dragland, who supervised Macumber during Moon’s trial, said the argument by the defense that the verdict was not supported by strong evidence “is an incorrect assertion.” “The only aspect of the case which was an issue from the defense’s point of view was who was driving and that is resolved conclusively and forever by the virtue of the fact that the fatal victim was seat-belted into the passenger seat,” Dragland said. William Moon is scheduled to appear in Placer County Superior Court at 8:15 a.m. March 19 in Dept. 44 in the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.