Tuesday 04/06/04 – Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing for the three accused of Norma’s murder was held today in San Luis Obispo at 1:57pm. It lasted nearly 3 hours. Those who testified included officers who translated confessions by the accused along with detective Mike Wasley, responsible for solving the case. Isabelle Celis and Javier Chavez seemed reserved and kept their eyes focused on the judge, attorneys, witness, and floor most of the hearing. Miguel Celis, on the other hand…

immediately made eye contact with the victims family as they entered the court room, was smiling, tossing his head back, and chuckling to himself until the family requested that the bailiff intervene. Each defendant has their own attorney. The tactics used by the defense today were to try to throw out the defendants confessions by reason that the translations weren’t accurate and by questioning if the defendants had been read their Miranda rights. Both tactics failed to get any ground. At one point the judge became frustrated with the defense attorneys and their games. It was revealed that Miguel Celis had said that he, his mother Isabelle, and his sister collectively had multiple loans owing Norma $8,000. For this reason they plotted to kill Norma. The result of this hearing was that Isabelle and Miguel will both be tried for murder with enhancements 1, 2, and 4 and Javier for Murder with enhancement 2, and 4. Both Javier and Miguel will also be tried for violating parole. Enhancements 1 and 4 are lying in wait and using a weapon (pipe and concrete) respectively.

NOTE: As reported by the Tribune on April 6th, Norma did loan money to various Latinos in the community. Although, Norma was never known to demand payment, in fact, she was very forgiving of late payments and many who had borrowed money from her have come forward testifying of her generosity and kind heart when repayment was not immediately possible due to lost jobs, illness, and other extenuating circumstances.