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Yanaga murder trial now in session 

– The murder trial of Thomas Yanaga began Tuesday, and is now in session at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse, KSBY reports.

Thomas Nolan Yanaga, 52, Paso Robles

Thomas Nolan Yanaga, 52, Paso Robles

The trial began about six months after Marshall Savor was found dead on Yanaga’s property with multiple gun shot wounds. Yanaga plead not guilty at an arraignment in May.

Prosecutor Charlie Blair said Yanaga shot and killed Marshall Savoy out of malice and that Yanaga’s actions were, “that of someone with a dark heart,” according to the report. He said Yanaga was, “a powder keg ready to go off,” and that, “Savoy was his fuse.” Yanaga says he shot Savoy in self-defense.

Savoy had arrived at Yanaga’s house on the evening of March 14 to visit girlfriend Ashley Moss, 26, who was living on Yanaga’s property, according to reports. At the preliminary hearing, Moss had said she and Savoy were in the trailer she rented on Yanaga’s property in Paso Robles. She had only lived there a few days at that point. While they were in the trailer, they heard Yanaga and his wife, Joyce, arguing. At that time, she said, Savoy went to the house. She said she saw Savoy enter the front door of the house, a detail that Yanaga’s attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu said is false because from her vantage point looking out the door of the trailer, one could not see someone going through the front door. She said she heard Savoy yell, “You don’t touch women like that. Don’t touch women like that. I have a daughter.” She said Savoy was in the house with Yanaga, which Funke-Bilu said does not match with what she told a detective that morning in March.

The jury also heard from three San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies Tuesday who were the first to arrive at Yanaga’s home. Deputy Ian McFarland said he responded to a call from Yanaga’s wife, who said a man had gone into their home and her husband shot him. Deputy Michael DeRose said on the stand that Yanaga told him, “he didn’t mean to do it.” Blair reportedly said Yanaga had forethought going into the evening. He claimed two friends of Yanaga, who will be testifying during the trail later this week, claim Yanaga said the night before in conversation, “I always wanted to know what it feels like to kill someone.”




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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at