Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Edmonds, Norton held on $1 million bail for Tuesday homicide

From left, Shannon Edmonds and Melvin Norton are being held in connection with a fatal stabbing that is alleged to have occurred in Clearlake on Tuesday, September 22, 2009. Lake County Jail photos.





CLEARLAKE – A man who shot and killed two men as they fled from his home following an alleged December 2005 break-in has been charged, along with another Clearlake resident, with homicide in a Tuesday morning stabbing.

Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, of Clearlake was arrested early Tuesday, along with Melvin Dale Norton, 38, also of Clearlake, according to Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain.

Edmonds and Norton weren't booked until shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday as a result of interviews going on throughout the day, McClain told Lake County News.

Bail for each of the men is set at $1 million, according to their booking information. Arraignment is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

McClain said Edmonds and Norton were arrested for the stabbing death of a white male adult in his 30s who has not yet been identified.

Clearlake Police officers were dispatched to an area of Old Highway 53 and Clement Drive at about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday on the report of a possible assault, McClain said.

When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim lying on the side of the roadway. McClain said the victim was transported to Saint Helena Hospital Clearlake where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The leads developed by the first officers on scene and by detectives assigned to the case resulted in the arrest of Edmonds and Norton, both of whom are charged with homicide, McClain said.

Officer Michael Ray arrested both men at 5 a.m., according to jail records.

McClain said Clearlake Police detectives, along with Lake County District Attorney's Office investigators, were in the process of serving search warrants and collecting additional evidence.

He said the victim's name will be released by the Lake County Sheriff-Coroner's Office at the appropriate time.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins said late Tuesday that his chief deputy, Richard Hinchcliff, was working on the case with Clearlake Police.

Edmonds was at the center of a December 2005 case in which three Bay Area men allegedly broke into his Clearlake Park home and assaulted him, his then-girlfriend Lori Tyler, her teenage son Dale Lafferty and Lafferty's friend, Justin Sutch.

Christian Foster, 22, along with 21-year-old Rashad Williams and Renato Hughes, then 21, allegedly formed a “crime team” and broke into Edmonds' home in search of marijuana, as Hopkins explained to the jury in the trial in the summer of 2008. During the 2005 incident, Lafferty was beaten nearly to death with a bat and suffered permanent brain damage.

Edmonds fatally shot Williams and Foster as they ran from his home, with the prosecution arguing the men were still in the house when they were shot, and the defense saying that Edmonds shot them after following them outside.

The District Attorney's Office did not charge Edmonds in that case.

Hughes later was charged with his friends' deaths under the provocative act law, which holds anyone alleged to have taken part in a crime that could provoke a lethal act responsible for resulting deaths.

His defense attorney, Stuart Hanlon, on Tuesday called news of Edmonds' arrest on the murder charge “amazing.”

Throughout Hughes' legal proceedings, Hanlon attempted to place blame on Edmonds and demanded his prosecution.

In similar fashion, Hanlon on Tuesday called the Clearlake homicide “a murder waiting to happen,” alleging that Edmonds had essentially been given permission to kill people because he had never been charged for any of the deaths.

Edmonds also wasn't charged for an August 2007 incident in which he allegedly tried to force Tyler to commit suicide with him, making her take about 150 pills and write out a suicide note, as Lake County News has reported. The couple later drove to the hospital, but about two weeks afterward Edmonds again attempted suicide by taking pills.

“He's a troubled man, that's for sure,” said Hanlon.

However, Edmonds has a sparse local criminal record, with no previous charges involving violence.

A check of Lake County court records showed that Edmonds has only one criminal case on file locally – a January conviction on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct while under the influence of drugs and disturbing the peace.

Hanlon said his investigators found that Edmonds was charged in Mendocino County with several low-level drug offenses – but no felonies.

In Hughes' trial – held last summer in Contra Costa County, where it was moved due to pretrial publicity – Hughes was acquitted of the two homicide counts, robbery and attempted murder, with the jury hanging on assault causing great bodily injury. Hughes was convicted of burglary and assault with a firearm.

During the trial's closing arguments, Hanlon had stated Foster was shot four times in the back, one of them while he was on the ground, which Hanlon told Lake County News on Tuesday that Edmonds had testified to while on the stand.

It's a point that both Hanlon and Hopkins continue to argue.

Hopkins told Lake County News in a recent interview that he provided evidence in last year's trial that proved Edmonds couldn't have shot Foster while he was lying prone.

Hanlon on Tuesday responded to that statement with some colorful language, and maintained that the jury didn't buy that explanation.

Last December, a federal lawsuit filed against Edmonds by Williams' and Foster's families was settled. Edmonds' insurance carrier, Allied, paid an undisclosed amount, as Lake County News has reported.

In the suit, the families alleged that Edmonds was a known drug dealer, and claimed that Foster's and Williams' civil rights were violated.

That suit's defendants originally had included the county and the city of Clearlake, but a federal judge dismissed the case against the local jurisdictions.

If anyone has any information regarding this case please contact the Clearlake Police Department at 707-994-8251.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

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