The man suspected of killing Mendocino County reggae musician Jamal Andrews had a history of aberrant behavior, according to Mendocino County court records.
"He is mentally ill and extremely unstable," Billy Norbury's estranged wife, Brittany, wrote in a May, 2011 letter to the court explaining why she wanted custody of their three children and wanted her husband limited to supervised visits.
Norbury, 33, is in Mendocino County jail in connection with the shooting death of Andrews, 30, Tuesday night outside the victim's home. It was the third time Norbury had made a late-night visit on an all-terrain vehicle to the home Andrews shared with his long-time girlfriend, Miranda Mills, and their 8-month-old son, Kaiden.
Mills, her voice breaking with emotion, said Thursday she went outside following the shooting.
"Jamal passed away in our front yard while I was holding him," she said.
An autopsy determined Andrews was shot in the head and shoulder.
Mills said they had not met Norbury before he showed up inexplicably at their house about three months ago and she does not know what prompted his actions.
"I wish he would tell us why," she said.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Capt. Kurt Smallcomb said Thursday that a motive for the killing has not been determined.
Norbury's wife said in court affidavits that he is irrational and suffers from paranoia. He thought people were following him and listening to his conversations through the television, phone and car radio.
She wrote that he threw a cell phone in the creek because he thought it was bugged, spent time under the house checking for bugging devices and refused to wear a shirt she'd washed and ironed for him to wear to a birthday party because he thought she was in on a conspiracy to track him. Their eldest daughter, then 7, told a counselor she had to stop her father from choking her mother.
Norbury also was addicted to alcohol and was prohibited from driving because of three arrests for driving under the influence, according to his wife.
He was arrested two weeks ago on a public intoxication charge, according to jail records.
Norbury's family was critical of his wife in court documents, calling her untruthful. They defended him, saying he was a good father. His parents did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Norbury and Andrews lived about a quarter of a mile apart in Redwood Valley. Andrews kept the gate to his property shut, so Norbury parked outside and walked into the yard the first two visits. On Tuesday, he was on the far side of the gate when the fatal shots were fired, Smallcomb said.
Mills said that she had thought that whatever Norbury's problem was, it had solved. On his second visit to their home he had called it a misunderstanding and the two men shook hands, she said.
"Everything was supposed to be fine," she said. That's now far from the case.
"It's going to be sad to see his son grow up without him. He was an amazing, amazing father," Mills said.
Sheriff's detectives are requesting that anyone with information regarding the case call them at 707-467-9159. Callers may remain anonymous.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or Glenda.firstname.lastname@example.org.