Sentencing was delayed this morning for a man who gunned down his
ex-girlfriend and her friend at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza in
Nathan Burris, 49, of Richmond, was convicted of two counts of murder last month for stalking and killing Richmond woman and Caltrans toll-taker Deborah Ross, 51, and Ersie "Chuckie" Everette, 58, a Golden Gate Transit bus driver from San Leandro, on Aug. 5, 2009.
The jury later gave Burris the death penalty, with his sentencing set for this morning.
Since Burris represented himself at his trial, he has the right to access a county law library and to make phone calls in preparation for court hearings.
But Burris' attorney Larry Barnes, who is acting as his advisory counsel, told the court today that the sheriff's department illegally prevented his client from doing research for his hearing.
Judge John W. Kennedy agreed to continue the sentencing to Jan. 18 to grant Burris his right to prepare for the hearing.
"This is a matter of great importance not only to Mr. Burris, but to the families of the victims," the judge said. "There is a cost to both sides, and it's a substantial cost."
Several of the victims' family members attended the sentencing hearing this morning.
Burris hurled expletive-laden insults at the family members, as he
has done throughout the trial, after they laughed at something he said.
"You can keep laughing, but they ain't coming back," he said.
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