2 testify in ‘thrill kill’ murder trial

By From page A3 | January 29, 2013

VALLEJO — Methamphetamine continued to play prominently as the driving force of a pair of addicts who allegedly shot and killed two women, both strangers, in November 2007.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case later this week in the murder trial for one of the addicts, Paige Linville, whose boyfriend took the witness stand Monday to testify against her.

Linville’s boyfriend, Mario Moreno, was only on the witness stand for a few minutes before the trial ended for the day. He is expected to return to the stand Tuesday morning. Moreno has already pleaded no contest to a pair of manslaughter charges in exchange for a maximum 32-year prison sentence after he is done testifying.

Moreno testified he met Linville in the summer of 2007 while living at his mother’s home shortly after he got out prison. His mother introduced him to Linville when she stopped by their home to sell the mother methamphetamine, he said. Soon Linville had a new customer and a new boyfriend. As the relationship grew, Moreno and Linville both began dealing methamphetamine to people they knew in the Vallejo area.

Moreno’s other girlfriend was also on the witness stand Monday. She testified she also used methamphetamine daily and thought Linville was just a friend of Moreno’s who he was using because she gave him her car, money and methamphetamine.

The other girlfriend testified she got into an argument with Moreno when he came home after being out all night with Moreno in 2007. She testified that Moreno explained his absence by detailing randomly gunning down a woman in a Cordelia cul-de-sac and then, and after several hours and several hits of methamphetamine, fatally shooting a woman as she walked her dog outside a Dixon apartment complex.

To back up his story, Moreno later showed his girlfriend newspaper articles about the murders of 34-year-old Amber Lee Chappell in Cordelia and 41-year-old Christine Baxley, the other girlfriend testified.

Linville’s lawyer has told jurors that Moreno was the triggerman in both killings and that Linville is the victim of an abusive relationship.

The other girlfriend testified she told relatives what she had learned from Moreno because of concerns for her own safety before setting out on a drive with Moreno and Linville, during which she believed she was going to be the next woman shot and killed.

The late-night drive culminated in the parking lot of a Vacaville restaurant, where Moreno put a gun to Linville’s head, which gave the other girlfriend solace because she believed Moreno cared more about her than he did for Linville, according to her testimony.

A month after the murders, one of the other girlfriend’s relatives passed the secret to authorities, who arrested Moreno and Linville.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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