Representatives from victim services read letters from 10 family members of Curtis Hicks, 42, during the sentencing of a Linda man convicted of murdering Curtis Hicks and injuring Hicks’ wife in November 2019.
Yuba County Superior Court Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter sentenced Moe Nanlap, 24, to 115 years to life in state prison at a hearing in court on Monday afternoon.
Nanlap was found guilty in July of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. The jury found Nanlap not guilty of the greater crimes of first-degree premeditated murder and attempted first-degree murder. The charges stem from Nanlap shooting and killing Curtis Hicks and injuring his wife, Jolene Hicks. Nanlap was in a relationship with Joann Adkins, the Hicks’ daughter, at the time of the shooting. Nanlap has three children with Adkins.
The shooting occurred in a residence in the 1500 block of North Beale Road during a family gathering in the early hours of Thanksgiving 2019.
Prior to sentencing, Wirtschafter denied a motion by public defender Brian Davis for a new trial. Wirtschafter said there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to warrant the jury coming to its verdict. The defense’s motion included that a juror downloaded a document from the internet to review during deliberation when that was not permitted. Wirtschafter said while that conduct was inappropriate, the document was “relatively innocuous” and did not rise to the level of having a new trial.
In a letter written by Curtis Hicks’ nephew Shawn Buie, he said what happened to his uncle was beyond unfair. Curtis Hicks’ niece Stacy Buie said in her letter that her uncle was “stolen” from the family. She said the family wants justice.
“I have a hole in my heart that will never heal,” Curtis Hicks’ aunt Teresa Hicks said in a letter read in court.
Malisha Hicks, one of Curtis Hicks’ two sisters called Nanlap a “sociopath” and an “irrelevant, empty vessel of a person.” Curtis Hicks’ mother Theldra Denise Johnson’s letter described the difficulty of sitting through Nanlap’s trial.
“It’s like pouring salt in an open wound,” Johnson said.
A few family members took issue with Wirtschafter’s conduct during the trial believing he was too cordial with Nanlap, including on one occasion, discussing the ongoing NBA Finals. They also criticized the judge for allowing evidence to be heard at trial of Curtis Hicks’ criminal history. Wirtschafter apologized to the family for his actions during the trial when interacting with Nanlap but said he had to admit the evidence under California law to avoid having a retrial.
Nanlap made a statement in court on Monday, apologizing to Jolene Hicks, Joann Adkins and saying he regretted his actions.
“I want you to know from the bottom of my heart how truly sorry I am,” Nanlap said to Jolene Adkins.
He said he takes responsibility for his actions and did not ask the court for leniency. Wirtschafter said Nanlap would not receive any leniency.
“He’s fully undeserving of any leniency,” Wirtschafter said.
He called Nanlap’s assertion at trial that he acted in self-defense as “absurd” and “obscene.” Wirtschafter said Thanksgiving will forever be synonymous with the pain of what happened in 2019 for Curtis Hicks’ family.
Wirtschafter said Nanlap has 60 days to appeal the sentence.