Friday, 12 April 2024

REGIONAL: Chico man sentenced to life in prison for murdering his grandfather

SANTA ROSA – On Tuesday, a former Chico resident was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his elderly grandfather in the back of the head as he sat in his rocking chair.

Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss sentenced Sean Patrick Mooney, 22, to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his grandfather, Robert Deming, on May 20, 2008, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“Justice was finally served today for a senseless act upon a vulnerable victim, 78-year-old Robert Deming,” Passalacqua said in a written statement. “The jury agreed that the defendant executed his grandfather as he sat at rest in a rocking chair for the selfish expectation of financial gain.”

On July 24, 2009, a Sonoma County jury convicted Mooney of first degree murder with a special circumstance of committing murder for financial gain, use of a firearm, elder abuse charges and receiving stolen property, the 12-gauge shotgun that was used in the murder.

The evidence revealed that Mooney had shot his grandfather in the back of the head, at near contact, as Deming sat peacefully in his rocking chair at his Sonoma home.

Shortly following the jury’s verdict, Mooney hired new counsel to present a motion for new trial, claiming among other things that his trial counsel was ineffective at trial and there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

After several days in evidentiary hearing in February, Gnoss denied the motion for new trial and set the case for sentencing.

In addition to his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Mooney also must serve two years for possessing a stolen shotgun and another 25 years to life for using a firearm during the murder.

Deputy District Attorneys Traci Carrillo and Rosanne Darling led the prosecution of the case. Detective Chris Vivian from the Sonoma County’s Sheriff’s Office led the investigation. District Attorney Investigator Les Vanderpool also assisted during the trial and subsequent court hearings.

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