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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 1:50 am | Fair 49º


Attorney’s Illness Delays Lompoc Murder Trial

Clay Martin Burt Murray
Clay Martin Burt Murray

The defense case in a Santa Barbara County Superior Court trial for a Lompoc man accused of fatally shooting a Santa Maria woman in his home will have to wait until Monday.

Judge Gustavo Lavayen sent home jurors and alternates shortly after they arrived Friday morning. 

“At this time, unfortunately, I have to let you know — and I do apologize for this — but due to the unforeseen illness of a critical participant in today’s proceedings, they can not go forward,” the judge told jurors. 

Clay Martin Burt Murray, 67, is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Rebecca Yap, 37, in October 2014 in a residence on North Daisy Street in Lompoc.

Video surveillance cameras captured the events leading up to and after the shooting. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Stephen Foley said that the camera, which contains audio and video, showed Murray attempting to cover his tracks after fatally shooting Yap.

The defense, with attorneys Michael Carty joined by Adrian Galvan two months ago, has claimed that the woman stole drugs from Murray, a Vietnam veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The trial’s start has been delayed for a number of reasons, including illness of the defense attorney and Murray.

Following opening statements and the first witnesses on March 2, Foley rested his case on Tuesday afternoon. The defense was set to start Friday before Carty's illness changed the schedule. 

Galvan said his colleague had planned to question the expert witness, a physician, and the defendant since the defense attorney was more familiar with those facets of the case.

Testimony from defense witnesses is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Monday in Department 8 at the Santa Maria Court Complex. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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