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Opening statements under way in the trial for Jeffery Menzies

Published On: Aug 08 2013 08:17:58 PM CDT
OROVILLE, Calif. -

After two years of investigation, the trial for a Butte County man accused of shooting a Chico pastor "sniper style" began on Thursday.

Investigators say that Jeffery Menzies was the man responsible for killing pastor David Yang back in Chico in 2011.  This morning a jury got a taste of both sides of the case.

Both the prosecution and the defense gave the jury their opening statements offering their versions of what really happened on Sept. 21, 2011.  It has been nearly two years since the fatal shooting of Yang.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Murphy opened up by telling the jury that Menzies was out "hunting a human being" and that evidence such as phone calls, expert testimony and crime scene analysis will show that.

Menzies' attorney, Jodea Foster, painted a different picture, saying this was all just a robbery gone wrong.  In fact, Foster said Menzies was "star gazing" near where the shooting took place and before meeting up with his friend Daniel Slack to plan an ATM robbery.

To do that, the defense says they decided to rob the next driver who pulled up in the intersection of Highway 32 and Bruce Road. That driver was David Yang. As they approached the car, the .270 caliber hunting rifle they had went off.

Later, the prosecution called Yang's wife, Sarah, to the stand to explain David’s daily routine.

They also called a handful of Chico police investigators to explain what they found in Menzies car and at the crime scene.

Investigators told the jury they found the rifle registered in Menzies' name next to a tree near the intersection and found rounds of ammo inside his trunk.

The trial will continue Friday and is expected to last up to three weeks.   If Menzies is convicted, he could spent the rest of his life in jail without the possibility of parole.