Nevada County murder trial of Jason Schuller resumes
The Nevada County judge in the murder trial of Jason Schuller ruled Monday, Dec. 11, that prosecutors can’t call a witness who would have bolstered testimony that Schuller “came out,” which could be a potential motive in the death.
Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger decided that the wife of Jesse McKenna couldn’t testify today because any implication by defense attorneys that her husband lied on the witness stand didn’t rise to a legal level that would require it.
Micah Pierce, deputy public defender, said someone must cast McKenna’s testimony in doubt before a witness like his wife is called.
“I really think it’s premature,” Pierce said.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh argued that Pierce’s questioning of McKenna implied that McKenna lied, leading him to ask for McKenna’s wife to testify.
Pierce said he intended to call the officer who interviewed McKenna to the witness stand. That officer’s testimony could trigger a legal requirement, giving prosecutors the ability to call McKenna’s wife.
Heidelberger said if he didn’t call that witness, she’d prohibit Pierce from arguing at the end of trial that McKenna could have lied.
Prosecutors wanted to call the wife, because they said she would reinforce her husband’s testimony that the 36-year-old Schuller — charged in the March 2016 death of William Tackett, 67 — told Tackett he was gay. Schuller coming out and then having Tackett forbid him from his Banner View Drive home could be a possible motive in the slaying.
Schuller has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Authorities claim that Schuller shot Tackett and set his body on fire before fleeing Nevada County. Officers arrested him after a chase that ended in Sacramento.
The trial resumed at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Caltrans is continuing intermittent Interstate 80 ramp closures between Kingvale and the Nevada state line for construction activities this week.