VALLEJO — After years of delays, the prosecutor and defense attorney for a woman accused of a pair of 2007 “thrill killings” confirmed Thursday they will be ready Monday to start a four- or five-week murder trial.
Paige T. Linville, 29, is accused of killing two women, one in Cordelia and one in Dixon. Linville and her boyfriend, Mario R. Moreno, killed just for the thrill and gave differing versions of who shot who since their arrests, according to law enforcement authorities.
Amber L. Chappell, 34, was killed in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 16, 2007. Her body was discovered on Ramsey Road in Cordelia by a deputy sheriff patrolling around 4 a.m. Chappell had been seen the previous night walking along Jameson Canyon Road.
About 10 hours later, Christina Baxley, 41, a mother of two, was shot multiple times while walking her dog in front of her Dixon apartment during her lunchtime break from her job at the Dixon Tribune newspaper.
Both Linville and Moreno have said their shared addictions to methamphetamine factored into the random killings.
Moreno is expected to be a key prosecution witness. In 2010, he took a plea deal on the eve of a jury trial, agreeing to testify against Linville in exchange for getting a maximum 32-year prison sentence. He pleaded no contest to a pair of voluntary manslaughter charges.
At Linville’s probable cause hearing, Moreno testified that he and Linville set out to murder “because they wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone.” He also testified that she was the shooter in both killings.
Linville’s attorney, Amy Morton, told Judge Allan P. Carter that one of her witnesses would focus extensively on how methamphetamine influenced Linville’s actions. Morton, one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Northern California, has obtained repeated delays for the trial, which is expected to feature several jailhouse informants.
Prosecutor Krishna Abrams, who wrapped up a nearly three-month-long cold-case murder trial earlier this week with a guilty verdict, told Carter she could be calling as many as 63 witnesses to testify in her case against Linville in the upcoming weeks.
In addition to the pair of murder charges, Linville face the special circumstance enhancement of having committed multiple murders, which could result in her receiving a life sentence in prison without possibility of parole.
Linville pleaded no contest in 2008 to being an accessory after the fact to the murders. After she served her prison sentence for that offense, prosecutors obtained new evidence against Linville and filed the murder charges.
Among the prosecution witnesses expected to testify are women who were jailed with Linville in 2008, who also were facing murder charges, who resented her bragging about getting the accessory charge rather than murder charges.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.