QUINCY -- A Plumas County jury needed less than three hours to find Gregory Chad Wallin-Reed, 38, of Reno guilty of murdering Rory McGuire, 20, of Susanville.
In addition to first-degree murder, the jurors convicted him of seven other felony counts – firing at an occupied vehicle, five counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of an illegal assault rifle.
Plumas County Superior Court Judge Ira Kaufman put the verdict in jurors’ hands Wednesday afternoon. They reached a decision Thursday morning.
As the court clerk read the verdict, Carol Starzer, McGuire’s mother, wept quietly.
Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister said he was pleased that Starzer and Dave McGuire, the victim’s father, could enjoy “some sense of justice from this tragedy.”
Richard Young, Wallin-Reed’s defense attorney, said he was disappointed by the verdict. He is considering an appeal or a motion for a new trial, he said.
The case against Wallin-Reed stems from a July 2, 2011, chase from his remote cabin near Janesville along back roads leading toward Antelope Lake. After Wallin-Reed caught a carload of six men stealing a solar light from his property, he pursued the vehicle, driven by McGuire, for eight miles, firing as many as 26 shots at it.
When McGuire missed a road that would have taken him to the lake, he turned his car around in a meadow, where it had come to a stop. Wallin-Reed approached the car and fired into it.
Investigators found 12 cartridges from an assault rifle and seven from a handgun, according to testimony during the trial.
McGuire was shot in the head and died two days later. Wallin-Reed shot two others in the lower legs.
In his defense, Young argued that Wallin-Reed was standing his ground and protecting his family and property. The law allows pursuit of an assailant until the danger is past, and Wallin-Reed fired at the vehicle only after someone in it fired at him, Young said.
Investigators found no gun in McGuire’s vehicle.
Hollister said the case was challenging but that the monthlong trial, which attracted a film crew from NBC’s “Dateline,” could not have gone better. “If people are thinking Plumas County would be a bunch of bumpkins, they were disappointed,” he said.
Wallin-Reed, who was surrounded by armed officers throughout the proceedings Thursday, showed no expression as the court clerk read the verdict. He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 21.
The minimum sentence for first-degree murder is 50 years to life, Hollister said.