Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Edmonds convicted of second-degree murder; Norton convicted of assault, accessory charges

LAKEPORT – On Thursday a Clearlake man was convicted of second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon for the death of a former Montana resident last September.


Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, sitting alongside his attorney, Doug Rhoades, received the verdict just before 11 a.m. Thursday.


He and his co-defendant, Melvin Dale Norton, 38, were accused of killing 25-year-old Shelby Uehling in an early morning fight along Old Highway 53 in Clearlake on Sept. 22, 2009.


Uehling was found on the side of the road, his throat slit and his body covered with bruises and scrapes.


Norton was acquitted of murder and lesser included offenses of manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. His defense attorney, Stephen Carter, patted Norton on the shoulder as the “not guilty” verdict on the murder count was read.


However, Norton was found guilty of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and being an accessory to murder.


Prosecutor Art Grothe had argued that the men had attacked Uehling as he was sitting in his car alongside of the road, with Edmonds' primary motivation being jealousy over Uehling's brief relationship with Edmonds' on-again, off-again girlfriend, Patricia Campbell.


The defense had asserted that Edmonds and Norton were genuinely concerned about Campbell's safety because Uehling – who allegedly was using methamphetamine – wouldn't stop calling or trying to see her after their abrupt breakup.


After weeks of testimony that led to nearly two and a half days of deliberation, the six-woman, six-man jury reached its verdict at about 10 a.m. Thursday, jurors told Lake County News after they were excused from the case.


They sat impassive as the court clerk read the counts and the verdicts.


Edmonds was found guilty of second-degree murder; assault with a deadly weapon, a knife; and assault with a deadly weapon, an asp or police-type extendable baton.


In addition, the jury found that Edmonds personally inflicted great bodily injury on Uehling.


He was found not guilty of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.


Norton was found not guilty of murder, assault with a deadly weapon using a knife and assault with a deadly weapon using an asp, but convicted of the assault and accessory charges.


Carter asked the jury be polled, and each of the 12 jurors replied “yes” when the court clerk asked them if the verdicts were true and correct.


Judge Arthur Mann then asked the jury to briefly step out of the courtroom while the court dealt with the matter of Norton's previous strike convictions.


Carter said Norton was prepared to admit them. Mann asked Norton if he understood that he had the right to remain silent and allow the jury to decide if the previous strikes were true. Norton said he did.


When Mann asked Norton if he had previously been convicted of felony strikes, Norton admitted that he had.


The jury was brought back in, and Mann told them about the prior convictions and Norton's admission about them, making it unnecessary for the jury to perform the function of deciding the truth of those strike convictions.


“Your service in this case has now concluded,” Mann said.


He added, “You've been an exemplary jury.”


Although Edmonds and Norton have the right to be sentenced within 20 days, Carter asked for more time in order to prepare a Romero motion. Such a motion is used to “strike a strike” or remove it from consideration during sentencing.


With Edmonds and Rhoades agreeing to the delay, Mann set sentencing for April 26.


A full account of the trial's conclusion, including interviews with the jurors, with be posted later on Lake County News.


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 and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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