Murder charge dropped in Olivehurst shooting death
A murder charge was dismissed Wednesday in the Olivehurst shooting death of Joseph Stancil earlier this year.
However, prosecutors filed a new charge of attempted murder against defendant Gabriel Natal in the shooting of Stancil's fiancee, Rosie Wheeler, during the same incident on Brougham Way.
"There was insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," said Deputy Yuba County District Attorney Mike Byrne.
Byrne said he could not comment on the evidence supporting the alleged attempted murder of Wheeler.
Prosecutors also filed felony charges against Natal of assault with a firearm and assault with an semi-automatic firearm.
If convicted, Natal faces life in prison with the possibility of parole, Judge Julia L. Scrogin said.
Stancil was gunned down May 18 in the 3000 block of Brougham Way. Wheeler, 23, was shot in the stomach just moments before Stancil, but survived.
Both sides have said they were victims who were attacked for no reason.
Natal has pleaded not guilty. His family declined comment Wednesday. Wheeler could not be reached for comment.
Natal's attorney, Roberto Marquez, has previously said his client was acting in self-defense.
Stancil's family has said he and Wheeler were attacked maliciously.
"I just don't understand how they could believe all this hearsay without evidence," said Angela Popovich, Stancil's mother.
Stancil's father, Joseph Sr., said it hurt to have prosecutors drop the murder charge and said the attempted murder of Wheeler should have been part of the case all along.
"It hurts my heart thinking my son was murdered and that (the defendant) is actually ge ting away with murder," Stancil Sr. said.
Natal is due back in court Sept. 5, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 7.
He remains in custody without bail at the Yuba County Jail.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.