Saturday Nov 29 2008
Moon family speaks about trial
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Father says his son is innocent
David Moon said he’s “never been more proud” of his son, who currently is in custody at Placer County Jail following an October second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated conviction. William “Billy” Moon was convicted in October for the June 3, 2006, death of Placer High School graduate Stewart Shapton. But Moon, his family and friends, remain steadfastly certain that the 24-year-old is innocent. “We strongly believe Billy is innocent,” David Moon said Wednesday. “He should have never been charged in the first place. We’re desperate to right this wrong.” Last week, David Moon discussed with the Journal his son’s recollection of the night, the “nightmare” his family has been living for the past two years, and the family’s ongoing fight to prove Billy Moon’s innocence. On the night of June 3, 2006, Billy Moon, then 21, and Shapton, 20, both climbed into a 2004 Infiniti G35 owned by David Moon. The boys drove down rural Bell Road until they reached speeds of 103 mph, launched off a hill, lost control upon landing and hit several oak trees on the side of the road before the car came to a rest on its right side. Both boys were reportedly intoxicated at the time of the accident. A blood test for Moon reported he had a .19 blood alcohol content level and traces of marijuana in his system. A blood test for Shapton was not released. Billy Moon was life-flighted to an area hospital while Shapton was pronounced dead at the scene. David Moon said his son has no recollection of the accident. He said the last thing Billy remembers from that night is playing pool with Shapton at the Moons’ Auburn home. David Moon said he and his wife, Vada, consulted a neurologist to try and see if there was a way to help Billy remember. The attempts were unsuccessful, David Moon said. In the days following the accident, the couple attended Shapton’s funeral and visited Shapton’s mother. “We were very impressed with her strength,” David Moon said. “We felt nothing but compassion and sadness, and we still feel that way.” David Moon said the demeanor between the two families changed after the California Highway Patrol report said Billy Moon was the driver. Once Billy was charged, he was ordered not to contact the victim’s family. During the six-week trial, defense attorney Clyde Blackmon argued that Shapton was driving that night. Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber said Billy Moon was behind the wheel. David Moon said one of the main pieces of evidence that has baffled him from day one is the damage done to the vehicle. He says it should explain who was driving that night. During the trial, a biomechanics expert testified for the defense saying that the immense inward crush on the driver’s side would’ve caused severe injuries. The passenger’s side, however, was relatively unscathed. The expert said Shapton’s 60-plus injuries, including broken ribs, lacerated liver and laceration to the back right side of his skull were consistent with the driver’s-side damage. Moon suffered a broken neck, cut to the nose, concussion and cut to the back of his head. He had no cuts or broken bones on his left side, David Moon said. Macumber countered with first-responder witnesses. One firefighter testified that he had to cut the passenger’s side seatbelt to remove Shapton’s lifeless body, which was in the passenger’s seat. Macumber also presented as evidence a piece of brain matter that was found on the passenger’s side seat headrest. It tested positive for Shapton’s DNA. “The evidence puts the defendant behind the wheel,” Macumber said in October. “From our perspective, there is not and never has been an issue of who was driving that car.” David Moon said the family continues to question first-responder testimony because he says it changed throughout the two years leading up to the trial. He also questioned why the District Attorney’s Office didn’t test blood found on the driver’s-side airbags. He said the defense could not obtain the airbags until nine months after the accident. He said they could not be tested because blood on the airbags had deteriorated while the car remained outside. “She (Macumber) didn’t give us the opportunity to prove Billy’s innocence,” David Moon said. The family further questions the prosecution’s case on a Web site launched by Billy’s friends. JusticeforBilly.com says bogus witness testimony and a lack of evidence led to Billy Moon’s wrongful conviction. Of the prosecution’s tactics, David Moon said he felt they were single-minded. He said Macumber never contacted him, and Billy Moon was never offered a plea deal. “They treated us badly since day one,” David Moon said. “Total disrespect, total unkind. Two boys made a mistake and they treated us like criminals.” Macumber has previously stated she will not comment on the content on JusticeforBilly.com. During her closing arguments, she reiterated evidence to the jury that she said proved her case. “We’re asking you to hold the defendant accountable for his actions,” Macumber said in October. “Stewart Shapton’s death must not be forgotten so the defendant can go on living like he’s done nothing wrong.” On Nov. 19 Billy Moon’s sentencing was postponed when his new attorney Dennis Riordan asked for a continuance so he could file a motion for a new trial. In February, Judge Larry Gaddis will hear that motion. David Moon said the trial has drained him and his wife of their life savings and retirement. However, he said the family is committed to fighting for their son. He said Riordan was hired because of his expertise in appeals. The family still keeps in contact with Blackmon. “I think he did a good job considering what he was up against,” David Moon said. David Moon said he and his family talk to Billy every day on the phone and visit him twice a week. “He’s handling it with such dignity and strength it’s inspiring to me as a father,” David Moon said. “As a father I am obligated to everything I can to support my son. I just know Billy is innocent and I’m going to do everything I can to help prove that.” Billy Moon will appear in Placer County Superior Court at 8:15 a.m. Feb. 19 In Dept. 44 at the Bill Santucci Justice Center in Roseville. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.