Yolo County double-murder trial stalls once again

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A Yolo County murder defendant was moments away from making a plea agreement this week when his attorney questioned his mental competence to proceed with the deal.

It marked the second time that Winters resident Chandale Shannon Jr.’s mental-health status stalled the court proceedings surrounding his alleged role in the 2016 disappearances and presumed deaths of teens Enrique Rios and Elijah Moore. The court ruled him competent the first time back in 2019.

Shannon’s attorney, Bob Spangler, raised the issue again during a Wednesday court hearing where Shannon was expected to admit to first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges netting a 36-years-to-life prison term. The case was slated for trial next week.

“While I believe Mr. Shannon wishes to accept the offer, I don’t believe that he can appropriately participate in the proceedings as they stand now,” Spangler told Yolo Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg, who ordered Shannon, 24, to undergo a psychologist’s evaluation and return to court Oct. 28 for further review.

Both Spangler and David Wilson, the case’s prosecutor, declined to comment after the hearing.

Wilson said in court that Shannon’s plea offer remains open pending the competency proceedings but expressed “frustration with the delay” on behalf of the victims’ families. “This case is five years from when it happened and over three years since it was filed.”

Two defendants left
Under the agreement, Shannon would have acknowledged his role in Rios and Moore’s slayings nearly five years ago, their deaths ordered by Shannon’s friend David Froste, of Knights Landing,  after Moore (17) robbed him of three ounces of marijuana.

A jury convicted Froste of both murders in 2018, resulting in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. His younger brother Jonathan Froste, seeking to avoid the same fate, made a plea deal in exchange for his testimony implicating the others.

That includes a fourth defendant, 21-year-old Jesus Campos, of Woodland, who was a minor at the time of the crimes but underwent a juvenile-court hearing in which a judge found him suitable for adult court.

Campos appeared in Rosenberg’s courtroom Thursday with his attorney, David Nelson, who took over the case in July following the death of Campos’ previous lawyer, J. Toney.

With next week’s trial date looming, “I would not be prepared to proceed solo in this matter,” Nelson told Rosenberg. “Other counsel had a couple years to prepare for this and I, in all honesty to the court, feel that I would not be effective counsel” without Spangler’s involvement.

Nelson asked for a March trial date “in order to get up to speed in the case.”

Wilson, meanwhile, requested a January start, noting that Shannon’s plea deal could end up falling apart. Spangler is expected to retire in February, which means Shannon would get another attorney in need of time to get familiar with the case.

“The problem with setting this case in March is that it won’t happen in March,” Wilson said.

“Or, I’ll have to do two trials. In any event, we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it,” Rosenberg replied. He scheduled a trial-setting hearing for Nov. 9.

Like Shannon, Campos also has sought a plea deal that would eliminate his potential exposure to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of both murders at trial.

“He wants some deal that’s going to give him a determinate sentence – he has indicated to me somewhere around 20 years,” Nelson told Rosenberg during a Sept. 28 hearing in the case.

Nelson said he presented that offer to Wilson, who told him “that’s just a non-starter. He’s not even going to take that to the DA to discuss.”

Revenge killings
Investigators say an enraged Froste sought revenge following the marijuana robbery, a $300 heist that occurred on the night of Oct. 17, 2016, in a Woodland parking lot. Campos and Shannon were present as well.

In a jailhouse interview with The Davis Enterprise after the foursome’s June 2018 arrests, Shannon said they picked up Rios, Moore’s friend and classmate, from his Esparto home “to party.” Instead, they took him to rural Knights Landing, where Froste fatally shot him when he refused to lure Moore back to the men.

David Froste is serving his life sentence at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad. Jonathan Froste, who pleaded no contest to second-degree murder shortly before his brother’s trial, remains in Yolo County Jail custody pending his anticipated court testimony.

In his own jailhouse interview with The Enterprise, Jonathan Froste admitted taking part in Moore’s Nov. 4, 2016, abduction and killing, during which each of the four defendants bludgeoned the teen with a tree branch before David Froste shot him.

Five years later, both teens’ bodies remain unaccounted for. Campos, Shannon and Jonathan Froste have attempted to help detectives locate the burial site — reportedly in a rural location east of Knights Landing — but each time came up empty.

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