Thursday Mar 19 2009
Victim's mother accepts apology from defendant
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Moon said he ‘feels responsible’ for night friend died
Patricia Shapton opened up the purse she was clutching on her lap and halfway pulled out a worn and slightly torn funeral announcement for her 20-year-old son, Stewart. Dressed in a pinstriped tuxedo, ready to go to his girlfriend’s junior prom, the shaggy, blond-haired youth smirked back through the photo. Patricia Shapton gazed down at the picture, put it back in her purse and then wiped the tears from her eyes. The picture captured a moment that was far the opposite from the moment she was experiencing in a packed Roseville courtroom Thursday morning. It’s been almost three years since her son was buried and on Thursday, she spoke out about the night her heart broke. That night was the reason more than 80 people filled a courtroom meant to seat about 50 at the Bill Santucci Justice Center. It was on that night, June 3, 2006, that Stewart Shapton buckled into the passenger’s seat of the 2004 Infiniti G35 William “Billy” Moon was driving. Both men were reportedly intoxicated, Moon with a .19 blood alcohol content and traces of marijuana in his system, as the G35 sped down a rural and winding section of Bell Road, reached speeds of 103.3 mph and launched off a hill just south of Hubbard Road, lost control upon landing and slammed into several oak. Shapton was pronounced dead at the scene. Moon was convicted in October 2008 of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. On Thursday, Judge Larry Gaddis denied Moon’s motion for a new trial and instead sentenced the 24-year-old to four years in county jail and a strict 12-year formal probation term. Moon also waived the right to ever appeal his murder conviction. The conditions of that term include he cannot have a driver’s license for at least 10 years, cannot consume alcohol, must attend at least 25 victim’s impact panels and pay more than $3,000 in penalties, fines and restitution. During Moon’s sentencing, Patricia Shapton and Moon both made statements to the court. When Moon addressed the court, he said while he didn’t have any recollection of the night, he “felt horrible” about what happened and was sorry. “I feel responsible for what happened that night,” Moon said. Between sobs, he talked about how he first met Stewart and how they bonded over their love for golf. Moon said not a morning, afternoon or night goes by when he doesn’t think about Stewart and pray for him. “I miss Stewart so much and I’m so sorry for his family and loved ones,” Moon said. When Patricia Shapton stood to speak, she said she didn’t know what to think of Moon’s statement. “I’m a little taken aback because for the first time I’ve heard ‘I’m sorry’ from anyone in this family,” Patricia Shapton said, referencing the Moon family. She later turned to Moon and said while she thought his actions were “unconsciousable” she accepted his apology. “I do accept your apology, Billy, and appreciate it very much,” Patricia Shapton said. “I pray for you every day.” Patricia Shapton went on to say she felt her son was “so much more” than the “dead body on the side of the road” he was depicted as during the trial. Between tears, Patricia Shapton listed many of the things her son was. She said her son had freckles, a huge grin, a kind heart, integrity, natural athleticism, was a King’s fan and very caring toward his mother and his siblings, with whom he shared a special bond. “It is excruciating to imagine the future without Stewart and not knowing what might have been,” Patricia Shapton said. About half of the courtroom was filled with supporters for Moon and supporters for Shapton. Moon family and friends wore blue ribbons to show support for him. Loved ones from both families openly cried throughout the proceedings. Both families also declined to comment outside of the courtroom. Moon’s defense attorney Dennis Riordan said he thought the sentence was “fair.” “I thought the judge really struggled to produce a just result in an extraordinarily emotional and difficult case,” Riordan said. “I admire the way he crafted a sentence he thought was fair for everyone involved.” Prosecutor Stephanie Macumber had argued for a 15-year-to-life prison sentence for Moon, citing his prior driving under the influence arrest six months before the accident as one of the reasons she thought Moon was a danger to society. Steven Dragland, supervising deputy district attorney, spoke on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office. “Mrs. Shapton was glad to finally hear the defendant apologize after almost three years and multiple loud protestations of innocence and repeated assertions that it was not his fault,” Dragland said. “Based on the fact that they’ve waived an appeal, they’re conceding their motion for a new trial was baseless and all of those accusations against the court, the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement are false.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at email@example.com or post a comment.