It took a Mendocino County jury just over an hour Wednesday afternoon to determine that Billy Norbury was legally sane when he shot and killed a neighbor in rural Redwood Valley.
The same jury last week convicted him of murder and of using a gun in the killing in January of Jamal Andrews, 30.
Norbury, 34, faces as much as 50 years to life in prison when he's sentenced Nov. 30.
Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said he wasn't surprised how quickly the jurors delivered their verdict. "I believe the evidence was overwhelming," he said.
Defense Attorney Al Kubanis said Norbury's family is "shattered."
They and mental health experts had testified that Norbury suffered from paranoia and delusions that were exacerbated by substance abuse. He thought people were watching him and plotting against him.
But, Kubanis said, having a mental disorder is not the same as being legally insane. Insanity is a legal determination that requires a jury to conclude that a defendant was unable to understand that his actions were morally or legally wrong.
Billy Norbury appeared during police interviews to have tried to hide the crime. He never admitted to killing Andrews, a reggae musician who lived along the same rural road. He also told law enforcement officers he didn't know who Andrews was. The two had met twice before the shooting, both times when Norbury made perplexing visits to Andrews' home on an all-terrain vehicle.
Andrews' longtime girlfriend, Miranda Mills, said they never did figure out why Norbury made the visits.
Norbury also had left angry, profanity-laced phone messages for his estranged wife in the days before the slaying in which he accused Andrews of having an affair with her and of turning him in to law enforcement for growing marijuana. He was not under investigation, law officials testified.
Eyster said jealousy was the motive for the killing, even though the affair was a figment of Norbury's imagination.
According to witnesses' testimony at the trial, Norbury had become increasingly delusional in the year before the shooting. He believed police and others were monitoring him through television sets, radios, cellphones and from aircraft.
He sometimes believed family members were colluding with his phantom observers.
How Andrews became a focus of Norbury's paranoia is unclear.
Kubanis said he will be filing a notice of appeal but the case will be turned over to an appellate attorney.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.