Judge orders trial in YC killing
Brock Alfred James Collette will stand trial in the death of David Tycoon Hall, a Sutter County judge ruled Thursday.
After a 11/2-day preliminary hearing, Judge Chris Chandler said there was probable cause to believe Collette, 18, committed first-degree murder. A higher standard of proof will apply at Collette's jury trial.
Collette will be arraigned before Chandler at 9 a.m. Sept. 15.
Defense attorney Jesse I. Santana argued unsuccessfully that Collette should be tried only on a manslaughter charge.
Santana said Collette “overdefended” himself at the Royal River Drive house where Hall was shot once in the face with a .40-caliber handgun on Jan. 5. Hall allegedly had threatened to kill Collette during a feud over a $150 cell phone.
Three other men at the house rented by Nazario Chavez gave differing versions of the confrontation that led to the shooting. None said Hall held a gun, although Hall allegedly told Collette he could get one “in two seconds.”
Police found a 9mm Ruger handgun in a kitchen drawer near where Hall was sitting when Collette entered the house.
One of the three other men, Harry Solomon, said Hall threatened before the shooting to get Collette “on Crip” and on “my mother” - gang expressions that possibly meant killing him, according to Yuba City police Detective Steve Thornton.
Solomon later added that nothing he said should be believed because he had a “nervous condition,” Thornton told Deputy District Attorney Susan Green.
Thornton interviewed Collette about the shooting at the police station. Collette asked to call his mother and, when left alone, was recorded telling her, “I know what I did was right. I just wanted him to leave me alone,” Thornton said.
Detective Dan Garbutt interviewed Chavez the night of the shooting. Chavez said he was eating a bowl of soup in the kitchen and didn't “directly” see the shooting, said Garbutt. That contradicted Chavez's testimony on Wednesday.
After allegedly being threatened by Hall, Collette left the house but “milled around” outside for a short time “thinking about what he was going to do,” then went back inside, said Green.
Collette met Hall inside the door and shot him seconds later, according to testimony.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Rob Young can be reached at 749-4710. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.