Thursday Oct 09 2008
Murder trial goes to jury
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Defense, prosecution end closing arguments
ROSEVILLE - Witness credibility and the weight of certain evidence was argued as the prosecution and defense made their case in the closing arguments of an Auburn man’s murder trial Thursday. Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber and defense attorney Clyde Blackmon spent the day presenting their arguments to the jury of five men and seven women, who began deliberations late Thursday afternoon. The deliberations mark the end of a six-week trial for William “Billy” Moon. The 23-year-old is charged with second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the June 3, 2006 death of his close friend Stewart Shapton, 20, of Auburn. Both men were riding in a 2004 Infiniti G35 that night in June 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. On Thursday, family and friends for both sides almost filled the courtroom. In her closing statements, Macumber outlined how physical and circumstantial evidence, as well as eyewitness testimony proved that Moon was the driver during the accident. “The evidence puts the defendant behind the wheel,” Macumber said. “From our perspective, there is not and never has been an issue of who was driving that car.” In his remarks, Blackmon said the evidence and the injuries of both men overwhelmingly pointed to Shapton as the driver. “The photos depict a horrendous accident and I can’t understand how anyone who sees this damage cannot ask themselves this very question: ‘How did the driver get out alive?’” Blackmon said. One issue that raised heated emotions on both sides was how the defense gathered their evidence. Throughout her closing arguments, Macumber referred to how the defense experts made money from their testimonies. Blackmon countered that the defense cannot use the resources such as the Department of Justice for DNA tests like the district attorney’s office can. He added that if it were his sons on trial for murder, “I’d spend my last penny to save either one.” During her final statements, following Blackmon’s closing argument, Macumber addressed the credibility of witness Shane Evans. Evans, Blackmon said, was a close friend with Moon and Shapton. The three often went golfing and partied together. He said Shapton and Evans would “fight,” usually in the form of a game of rock, paper, scissors, to drive Moon’s car because Moon did not want to drive. Blackmon highlighted Evans’ testimony that he was told by police officers that the driver had died in the accident. Macumber countered that Evans was best friends with Shapton and was originally living in the Rocklin area with five other men and working to afford tuition at Sierra College. For the past two years, she said Evans has lived in Monterey with Moon, who attends California State University, Monterey Bay. Evans now also goes to school, has access to a vehicle and doesn’t work full time, she said. “He and the defendant are good friends,” Macumber said. Several of Moon’s family and friends seated behind him scoffed and shook their heads at Macumber’s comments. In her initial statements, Macumber highlighted testimony from nine eyewitnesses, including neighbors and two firefighters who first responded to the scene. One firefighter testified he cut the passenger’s side seatbelt to remove the deceased rider, Shapton, from the vehicle. Macumber also raised Moon’s Dec. 31, 2005 driving under the influence arrest in Orange County. She said that charge, with the case still pending, led to enrollment in a DUI school and the Department of Motor Vehicles issuing Moon a restricted license. During his closing arguments, Blackmon asked the jury how they could come to any other conclusion but that Shapton was driving once they looked at pictures of the wrecked vehicle. He said the massive intrusion into the driver’s side of the vehicle coupled with the fact that Shapton suffered more numerous and severe injuries as compared to Moon, meant Shapton was the driver. “Ms. Macumber really has no answer to these injuries,” Blackmon said. He elaborated further about Shapton’s injuries, the majority of which were on the left side of his body, Blackmon said. He said Shapton had several contusions, abrasions and lacerations documented on his lower legs and feet. Moon had none, Blackmon said. He called the prosecution’s assertion that Moon had a documented laceration on the insole of his foot a “red herring.” In her final statement, Macumber told the jury the case was about accountability. “We’re asking you to hold the defendant accountable for his actions,” Macumber said. “Stewart Shapton’s death must not be forgotten so the defendant can go on living like he’s done nothing wrong.” Blackmon told the jury he does not think the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. “If justice is going to be done, Billy Moon has to walk out of this courthouse free because Stewart Shapton was driving that night,” Blackmon said. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment.