Jury gets case in ‘thrill-kill’ trial

By From page A3 | February 21, 2013

VALLEJO — Closing arguments ended Wednesday and jurors began deliberating the fate of a woman who faces murder charges for a pair of 2007 deadly shootings of two women, one killed in Cordelia the other in Dixon.

Paige Linville’s defense attorney, Amy Morton, and prosecutor Krishna Abrams agreed on one thing, that Linville was “a very, very, very bright person.” Morton told jurors Linville was bright enough to fabricate a terrific story about the murders if she had wanted to. Abrams told jurors Linville was smart enough to manipulate the men in her life, including her accomplice, boyfriend Mario Moreno.

During the two-month trial, Linville spent two days on the witness stand repeatedly saying she had been afraid for her life, terrified and paralyzed with fear while Moreno targeted and then killed the two women who they had never met.

Moreno and Linville both testified they picked up Amber Chappell outside a Vallejo grocery on the night of Nov. 16, 2007, while they were both bingeing on methamphetamine. They took her to a remote cul-de-sac in Cordelia alongside Interstate 680, where Moreno shot her several times.

In her closing argument, Morton glossed over the details of what happened in the nine hours after the shooting, including more methamphetamine use. Likewise, Linville testified she could recall the couple barely talking about anything before they encountered Christina Baxley as they were seeking a second person to kill while they drove through the city of Dixon. Baxley was shot and killed while walking her dog.

During the trial, Moreno and Linville pointed the finger at each other as Baxley’s killer.

Linville and Moreno were arrested a month after the killings after a relative of another woman Moreno was dating called authorities and described details of the killings Moreno had shared with the other girlfriend.

Moreno took a plea deal in 2010, pleading guilty to a pair of voluntary manslaughter charges in exchange for getting a maximum 32-year prison sentence for testifying against Linville.

Abrams said Moreno and Linville each killed somebody “just for the thrill of it” and repeated the claims of three of Linville’s jail cellmates, who claimed she shot and killed somebody to see what it felt like and that, “it was better than sex.”

“It wasn’t enough for her to watch Moreno shoot and kill somebody,” Abrams said.

After four hours of deliberation, jurors went home and are set to return Thursday morning for further deliberations.

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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