A Big Oak Flat man was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping on Wednesday at the Tuolumne County Superior Court after a jury of six men and six women deliberated for less than an hour.
While the verdict was read to the nearly vacant courtroom, the defendant, Elton Quintin Redick, stared at the table in front him and did not move. Redick, 43, dressed in a white shirt, blue tie and khaki pants, appeared resigned and emotionless. He did not look toward the jury, the judge or the court clerk, but as the first degree murder verdict announcement concluded, Redick blinked repeatedly and scratched at his eye.
Redick was also found guilty of two special allegation enhancements for using a firearm in the commission of the murder of Marc DeJong, 48, who died of two gunshot wounds to the head at a Black Road property he shared with Redick on Sept. 25, 2017; and for the use of a firearm in the commission of the kidnapping of Bonnie Palmer, a woman who had previously maintained a relationship with Redick and witnessed the murder.
Redick faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison for the murder charge and the special allegation enhancement, and 18 years for the kidnapping charge with the special allegation enhancement.
The trial lasted three days after one day of jury selection.
Judge James A. Boscoe scheduled sentencing for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in Department 2 of the Tuolumne County Superior Court.
The two people to regularly attend Redick’s trial and the verdict were Kelly Nobriga, 44, who is an aunt of DeJong’s son Jacob Nobriga, and Jacob Nobriga’s maternal grandmother, Roberta Nobriga, 70.
While five Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies, District Attorney Laura Krieg and Redick’s lawyer, Scott Gross, stood to hear the verdict, Kelly Nobriga wept into a handful of tissues.
“I’m relieved. You don’t have to be a perfect person, but he didn’t deserve any of this,” she said. “I’m just glad this guy got what he deserved. He took someone’s life. No drug in the world or woman in the world means you can kill somebody.”
Trial testimony showed Redick, Palmer and DeJong lived at the property on Black Road and used methamphetamine together as late as Sept. 24, a day before the murder.
Redick had maintained a sexual relationship with Palmer, but in the weeks leading up the murder, he felt marginalized by DeJong’s treatment of him in front of her, he said on a videotaped interview with a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office detective recorded a day after the murder.
Palmer refused to spend her last night on the property with Redick, but was with DeJohn on the morning of the murder. Redick said he was awake until the morning of the murder, agonized by the sound of rats against his trailer and made paranoid by his drug use. At daylight, he said he believed he heard DeJong scream from a shed on the property and that he and Palmer were involved in a sex act.
Armed with a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol, Redick burst into the shed and shot DeJong twice, in the head and face.
In the videotaped interview with a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s detective, Redick said Palmer asked him, “Why’d you do it?”
He responded, “How could I not do it?”
Kelly Nobriga, who said she and her family were from Manteca, said DeJong’s son decided not to be present during the trial because he did not believe he could stand photographs of the gunshot wounds to his father.
“He’s emotional. He couldn’t come because it was too hard for him. But he is happy his dad got the justice that was owed to him,” she said.
Before Krieg rested the prosecution’s case on Wednesday morning, a photograph was shown on a courtroom video screen of a bullet entry wound on the right side of De Jong’s head.
Dr. Katherine Raven, a forensic pathologist based in Sacramento who performed the autopsy on DeJong and testified Wednesday morning, said his cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
Jacob Nobriga was present for much of the preliminary hearings leading up to the trial and planned to make a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing, his aunt said after the verdict was read.
Krieg said she wished to thank the jury for their “careful deliberation” throughout the trial process.
“Justice was served today. We realize it doesn’t bring Marc back but we hope it provides some closure for the family,” she said.
Gross did not make any comment after the verdict was read other than he planned to file a notice of appeal. The defense did not call any witnesses.
During closing statements, Gross argued that Redick should be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter because he was provoked by DeJong before the murder. Redick believed he was being treated as a “lackey” by DeJong in front of Palmer, Gross said, and the “trigger” for the murder was when DeJong yelled out that he was involved with Palmer.
“If that statement isn’t said, Marc DeJong would be alive today,” Gross said.
That claim brought an audible murmur from Kelly and Roberta Nobriga, and an objection from Krieg. Boscoe struck the statement from the official court record and asked the jury not to consider it in their deliberations.
Gross also said that Redick should be found innocent of kidnapping because he gave Palmer money to go to the nearby Claim Jumper Outpost by herself, and threw the .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol into the bushes to assuage her fears.
Krieg argued that it didn’t matter that any of that occured because Redick was guilty of kidnapping after he forced Palmer into a nearby trailer at gunpoint after the murder, and kept her locked inside for approximately three hours.
Palmer testified last Thursday. Other witnesses included two Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies, and Detective Daniel Newman, who conducted the video interview.
Sgt. Gregory Christopher Rogers of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office testified that Redick was arrested at the Claim Jumper Outpost the day after the murder. Rogers noticed Redick walking along the building while he was eating lunch in an unmarked, blue Sheriff’s Office Ford Expedition, and followed him down the backside of the building. Redick was found because two of his feet were sticking out of an open area crawl space under the basement of the Claim Jumper Outpost.
Redick has been in the custody of the Tuolumne County Jail since his arrest, but at the request of Krieg, his $1 million bail was revoked.