A Linda man charged with killing his girlfriend’s father in 2019 took the stand on Thursday in Yuba County Superior Court.
Moe Nanlap, 24, is facing charges of first-degree premeditated murder, attempted premeditated murder, two counts of owning a firearm as a felon, and 42 total special allegations and sentence enhancements. The alleged incident took place on Nov. 28, 2019 in the 1500 block of North Beale Road.
Nanlap is charged with shooting and killing Curtis Hicks, 42, and injuring his wife, Jolene Hicks. Nanlap was in a relationship with Joann Adkins, the Hicks’ daughter, at the time of the shooting and has children with Adkins.
On Thursday, Nanlap took the stand as the defense’s first witness. He addressed a previous felony conviction that landed him in state prison for about a year for striking Adkins and chipping her tooth. Nanlap described the victim’s family attacking him in response and breaking his hand with a baseball bat.
Nanlap said he had that incident in mind when he fired at Curtis Hicks and Jolene Hicks. The shooting took place during a family gathering. Nanlap described Curtis Hicks as being aggressive and bullying him. During the gathering, Curtis Hicks talked to Nanlap outside. Nanlap said Curtis Hicks threatened his life during the conversation.
“’I’ll beat you up and kill you,’” Nanlap recalled Curtis Hicks saying, while under oath.
Those in the courtroom’s audience in support of Curtis Hicks were visibly exasperated on several occasions with Nanlap’s account of what took place. Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter warned one individual about refraining from being demonstrative in their response to Nanlap’s testimony.
Nanlap said he was in the kitchen when Curtis Hicks began “mean mugging” him and he was worried about his safety.
“I was fearing for my life,” Nanlap said.
Curtis Hicks and Jolene Hicks allegedly came toward Nanlap, who said the guns “went off.” He then described fleeing the scene and going to a relative’s home nearby.
On cross-examination, Chief Deputy District Attorney Shiloh Sorbello asked Nanlap if he had been the victim of conduct that Nanlap had inflicted on Adkins. He asked Nanlap if he had ever lost a tooth because of Adkins.
“You did that to her, right?,” Sorbello asked Nanlap.
Sorbello focused on Nanlap’s assertion that he felt in danger and “outnumbered” at the house. Nanlap said he didn’t feel in danger when he talked to Curtis Hicks outside but did in the kitchen because he felt cornered and didn’t have anywhere to go.
Under questioning from Sorbello, Nanlap said he did pull the trigger but did not admit to doing it on purpose. He characterized it as a reaction to Curtis Hicks and Jolene Hicks coming toward him. Nanlap said he had two handguns on him in the kitchen -- 9mm and 40mm semi-automatic handguns.
Nanlap said he always armed himself because he never knew when a shooting might take place. He said he’d owned the guns for about four months and that he bought them “off the street.”
The DA’s office rested its case Thursday morning prior to Nanlap’s testimony. Closing arguments were completed Thursday afternoon and the jury will begin deliberating today (Friday).