Press Release: People v. Moon, William, 3/19/09
March 19, 2009
Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: March 19, 2009
Public information Officer
Acting Assistant District Attorney
After denying a motion for a retrial, a Placer County judge placed an Auburn man on 12 years probation, which will include a four-year county jail term, for the second-degree murder of his friend, Stewart Shapton, in a drunken driving accident.
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office urged a sentence of 15 years to life in state prison in the case against William “Billy” Moon, 24, who was convicted by a jury on Oct. 10 of second-degree murder with implied malice and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Superior Court Judge Larry D. Gaddis placed Moon on probation after noting that the defendant had no felonies on his record and that he believed Moon was young enough to respond to rehabilitation efforts for alcohol abuse.
Among conditions of Moon’s probation were:
n No use of alcohol or drugs.
n Attendance at classes for drug and alcohol use.
n A ban on visiting places where alcohol is primarily served.
n A 10-year ban on driving privileges.
n Fines, penalties and restitution amounting to more than $3,000.
In accepting the probation terms, Moon and his attorney, Dennis Riordan, waived any right to appeal the defendant’s conviction or sentencing.
By waiving that right, Moon and his attorney conceded that accusations in their retrial motion were without merit. The accusations included that the judge had given improper instructions to the jury and that the prosecution had failed to provide discovery evidence prior to the testimony of rebuttal witnesses.
Gaddis cautioned Moon that if he violated any terms of his probation, he would be subject to being sent to state prison to serve out a sentence of 15 years to life.
Moon’s six-week trial featured the defendant’s contention that he was not driving the vehicle that was traveling an estimated 103 mph on June 3, 2006, before it went airborne on Bell Road in Auburn and crashed into a series of trees on the side of the road.
The defense contended that Shapton was driving.
However, prosecutor Stephanie Macumber produced nine witnesses who testified that Shapton was in the front passenger seat immediately after the accident occurred. Several saw him confined in a seat belt.
One of the witnesses, a firefighter, testified that he had to use a knife to cut the seat belt to get Shapton’s body out of the passenger seat.
Other witnesses testified that Moon had been drinking throughout the day before he and Shapton left a late-night party in which alcohol was being consumed.
Moon’s blood alcohol level was measured at .19 percent after the accident, Macumber said. A person is considered legally intoxicated in California at a level of .08 percent.
Macumber said Moon had been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Irvine six months before the Auburn accident. His blood alcohol level in that arrest was measured at .14 percent and he enrolled in classes for a first-time DUI offender to qualify for a restricted driver’s license.
The program allowed him to drive to and from work, as well as to DUI classes or school. It prohibited him from all other driving and he was banned from alcohol use while in the program, Macumber said.
She said Moon wrote during a May 11 class that he learned that driving under the influence causes “teenage deaths.”
Just before being sentenced, Moon gave a statement in court, saying he was sorry to the Shapton family.
He said he didn’t recall anything about the accident but that he is “responsible for what happened.”
“I feel horrible about it,” he said. “I would do anything to go back to that night.”
Patricia Shapton, the victim’s mother, also gave a statement, telling the court it was the first time she had heard the words “I’m sorry” from anyone in the Moon family.
She recalled her own son as a lover of sports and music and of being a person filled with “sunshine.”
“He had integrity,” she said. “He made everyone around him feel better.”