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Butte County jury convicts Oroville man of murder

A Butte County murder trial ended on Dec. 16 in a guilty verdict. The jury deliberated a day and a half after a two-week trial.

Posted: Dec 16, 2020 11:34 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2020 10:03 AM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - A Butte County jury Wednesday convicted an Oroville man of murder in a 2018 Berry Creek homicide.

The jury deliberated for approximately a day and a half after a two-week trial before finding Jasson Michael Stepp, 41, of Oroville, guilty of the January 4, 2018 murder of William Chrisman, 68.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Chrisman was found dead in front of his Berry Creek residence. He had been shot eight times and suffered blunt force trauma injuries to his head.

Stepp was linked to the murder through DNA evidence, tire tread impressions, and a distant neighbor’s video surveillance showing Stepp’s vehicle traveling to and from Chrisman’s rural home on the day of the murder.

Chrisman’s personal property was also later found dumped in a separate rural location, with items belonging to Stepp.

Cell phone data showed Stepp had been in contact with Chrisman in the days leading up to the murder and that Stepp had visited the Chrisman home at least twice leading up to the murder.

Stepp was familiar with the property through Chrisman’s ex-wife, as he had previously been employed as her handyman the previous summer.

This was Stepp's second trial for this murder. A separate jury heard evidence in September but had failed to reach a verdict.

Ramsey said, “It is significant our office and the Butte County Superior Court was able to serve justice for Chrisman's family, regardless of the difficulties presented with COVID-19. It is reassuring to know that Butte County residents are both willing and able to continue to do their civic duty even in these uncertain times.”

Ramsey also credited his prosecutor Jessica Miller for her “dogged determination to see that justice was done” in trying the trial twice.

Stepp remains in custody with no bail. He will appear on December 24, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. to schedule a date for sentencing. He faces 15 years to life in state prison.

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Sunday was a bright and toasty day for northern California, with the warmest highs we've experienced since October 2020, with valley highs in the upper 80s and 90s. Monday will be slightly cooler.
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