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Galt killing suspect thought animal control officer was intruder, defense attorney says

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:55 pm | Updated: 6:43 pm, Fri May 17, 2013.

A day before police claim Joseph Francis Corey gunned down a Sacramento County animal control officer, a Sheriff’s deputy removed a loaded double-barrel shotgun from Corey’s Galt home, according to testimony given Friday by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Arturo Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also described Corey’s home in the 600 block of 1st Street as being strewn with debris and trash, with some stacks several feet high.

Corey, 66, appeared in court for a preliminary hearing, where witnesses described the fatal shooting, a 17-hour standoff and other events surrounding the November 2012 murder of Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum.

Corey’s lawyer maintained his innocence, arguing that Corey shot Marcum through the front door thinking he was an intruder.

Law enforcement officials described the shooting as Corey sat in an orange jump suit next to his attorney in Sacramento County Superior Court.

On Friday afternoon, Judge Michael Savage ruled that the evidence presented during the hearing justified a trial for Corey, which is set to begin July 9.

Marcum was killed on Nov. 27, 2012 as he arrived to help secure the property and check the status of Corey’s dogs and cats following Corey’s eviction the previous day.

On Nov. 26, Gonzalez had arrived to kick Corey out and lock up his home.

The scene inside, he said, was shocking.

“He was a mess,” Gonzalez said of Corey.

Trash, paper and food were stacked four or five feet high in every nook and cranny throughout Corey’s home, Gonzalez said. Some rooms were inaccessible. People could move through other rooms using small trails between the chest-high piles of garbage.

Inside, Gonzalez said, he spotted a double-barrel shotgun, cocked and loaded leaning against the couch. He grabbed the gun, unloaded it and stored it in Corey’s brother’s truck outside, as a precaution. Then he handed the shotgun shells to Corey.

Corey maintained at that point that he had another 15 days to vacate, but could not provide supporting paperwork, so Gonzalez told him he had to leave that day.

A shot is fired

Detective Kenneth Clark, with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, spoke with contractors hired by the bank who arrived with Marcum to Corey’s home around noon on Nov. 27.

Clark said the group had approached the Galt home believing it was unoccupied, because Corey had been served with an eviction notice a day earlier. As they stood by the front door preparing to go in, a shot was fired, one of the contractors, Sal Ramirez, told Clark.

“I’m hit,” Marcum said before falling to the ground, according to Clark’s testimony.

The contractors ran, as they believed they heard the gun being reloaded, Clark said.

They flagged down a Galt security officer, who called police.

Officers arrived at Corey’s home, where Marcum still lay severely wounded near the entrance. Galt Police Officer Jose Ramirez said Friday that he worked quickly with two other officers to devise a rescue mission.

One officer provided cover as Ramirez and another officer made their way toward Marcum. They lifted Marcum and carried him to a waiting emergency vehicle.

Many other law enforcement officials from several agencies converged and surrounded Corey’s house as an hours-long standoff ensued.

Tear gas did not work

Officer Derrick Metzger, with the Elk Grove Police Department’s hostage negotiation team, talked about police making 350 calls to Corey’s cellphone while Corey was held up in his home.

Nearly five hours after the stand-off began, police finally made contact with Corey, who gave the impression he was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, Metzger said.

Corey was very upset and complained about the court system and foreclosure process, Metzger said. He still believed he had the right to stay and was afraid of being shot by police if he stepped outside and surrendered, Metzger said.

While police tried to persuade Corey to give himself up, they learned he was heavily armed with a high-powered rifle, a shotgun, several handguns and ammunition, Metzger said. The piles of trash also made it impossible for police to enter Corey’s home.

As night fell, police fired tear gas inside but it didn’t work. Around 4:30 a.m., police again reached Corey by phone, who this time spoke clearly and sounded sober, Metzger said.

A vendetta?

During Friday’s hearing, Crime Scene Investigator Mike Sullivan testified that Charlotte Marcum-Rush, Marcum’s mother, visited Corey in the Sacramento County Jail’s medical ward on Dec. 14, 2012.

Sullivan said Marcum-Rush, who was in the courtroom Friday, made contact with Corey to ask him why he allegedly shot and killed her son. Corey told her several times he wanted to kill a police officer, according to Sullivan. Corey also asked Marcum-Rush to come visit again, Sullivan said.

But Jennifer Mouzis, Corey’s defense attorney, questioned her client’s mental state during the visit, saying he was still recovering after being severely injured during his arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley-Franzoia argued that Corey had a vendetta against the police and the eviction system, so he shot Marcum, whom he mistakenly thought was a police officer.

However, Corey’s defense attorney argued that her client didn’t know Marcum worked for animal control but thought he was an intruder. Ramirez said Marcum was wearing a jacket that could have covered his badge, and in addition, Marcum’s uniform was tan, not black or dark blue like Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies or Galt police officers.

Sullivan said that when investigators tried to recreate the scene several weeks later, windows in the front door of the home provided a clear line of sight from where Corey allegedly fired to where Marcum stood.

Corey was described by neighbors as a recluse who, according to bankruptcy papers, subsisted on disability income. He had also worked as an electrician and had served a term on the Galt Fire Protection District board.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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