Trial begins in Marysville slaying: 'They killed Sam, Sam's dead'
On the last day of 2011, Steven "Sam" Moore told a friend he believed he was about to be "set up."
"He said, 'I think they're going to rob me,'" Amber Houser testified Wednesday.
Moore was wrong.
He was killed around 3 p.m. Dec. 31 in front of an Arthur Street apartment in Marysville.
Prosecutors said William Silliman helped convicted killer Marcus Hume saw off the barrel of the murder weapon, a 12-gauge shotgun, before he drove Hume to confront Moore.
Hume shot Moore in the face from the passenger seat of Silliman's truck. Moore died in the street as Houser desperately tried to stop the bleeding with a sweatshirt.
Silliman, 21, is on trial in Yuba County Superior Court, charged with second-degree murder in connection with Moore's death. He is the last of six defendants accused linked to the homicide.
If convicted, Silliman faces 20 years to life in prison.
Hume, Kari Mulkey, David Eneix, Jesse Garate, and Samson Mulkey admitted their roles earlier this year and avoided trial. Silliman is the only defendant who did not accept a plea bargain.
Kari Mulkey and Samson Mulkey are siblings. A jury of seven men and five women heard opening arguments in the case against Silliman on Wednesday.
Silliman's girlfriend, Carrie King, testified that Hume frequently talked about "getting payback" in the days leading up to Moore's death, but never heard Hume say who he wanted to hurt or why.
"He said that someone did something to him, and he wanted to go and hurt them," King said.
King said Hume pressured Silliman to modify the shotgun, and Silliman eventually agreed.
Prosecutors called 10 witnesses to the stand on the trial's opening day, including convicted co-defendant Samson Mulkey.
Mulkey, 17, was charged as an adult and pleaded no contest in May to a reduced charge in exchange for his trial testimony. His deal with prosecutors cut his potential time in prison from life to a maximum of three years.
Mulkey's testimony marked the first time any of the defendants described the circumstances surrounding Moore's death in public.
The group gathered at Silliman's apartment beforehand.
He said Eneix and Garate walked to Moore's apartment to act as lookouts for police. The four others drove there in Silliman's pickup. Mulkey thought they were going to a fight, he said.
He was seated directly behind Hume in Silliman's truck when the fatal shot was fired.
Mulkey said Silliman pulled the truck next to Moore's vehicle. Moore was in the driver's seat. An unidentified man was sitting in the passenger's seat.
Mulkey said he thought he saw Moore pass something to the passenger that looked like a gun, but said he couldn't see the object clearly.
Hume and Moore exchanged words.
They were talking about Mulkey's other sister, Roni, he said.
Moore's family has said Hume killed Moore in a jealous rage over a woman.
"Marcus asked Sam where my sister (Roni) was," Mulkey testified.
Mulkey said the truck moved forward, then Moore "mumbled something."
"Marcus said, 'You got a problem?'" Mulkey testified.
Then Moore got out of his car, holding an aluminum baseball bat at his side. Moore's passenger also got out the car. He was not holding any weapons, Mulkey said.
Mulkey was looking out the back window, he said, when Hume opened fire.
"All I heard was a boom," Mulkey testified.
He faced forward and saw Hume pull the shotgun back through the window.
Dr. Mark Super, a forensic pathologist, said eight buckshot pellets struck Moore in his eye, jaw, neck and chest.
Mulkey said he'd seen the gun before, but didn't know Hume had it until that moment.
Houser heard the shot and came outside to find Moore on the ground.
The unidentified passenger ran away, Houser said.
"He said, 'They killed Sam, Sam's dead, Sam's dead,' and then he took off running," Houser testified.
She never knew the man's name.
Two neighbors, Sean Simmons and Tina Farrell, also testified they heard the shot and ran to help the victim.
"It sounded like a cannon," Farrell said. "I heard people screaming 'they shot him, they shot him.'"
Simmons spotted Silliman's truck leaving the scene. The truck drove away, turning onto Hall Street.
Prosecutors plan to call six more witnesses today, including Eneix and Garate.