Animal Control: Hoarder Who Shot California Animal Control Officer Found Guilty of Murder

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Joseph Corey, a 67-year-old Galt, California, resident was found guilty by a jury on Thursday, October 30, 2014, of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Sacramento County Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum, reports KCRA.

Corey also was found guilty on two special circumstances--murder committed against an appointed official and lying in wait--after about five hours of jury deliberation, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The shooting occurred on November 24, 2012, when Corey was being evicted from his home in Galt. He had fought the eviction by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but a federal judge declined to consider the issue, and the eviction proceeded.  On the day before the fatal shooting, a Sacramento County sheriff’s detective served him with papers that he had to leave the property, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The bank representative who went to the home at that time was told by Corey that he wasn’t sure what he would do with the eight dogs and two cats he had in pens in the piles of debris and litter of hoarded material within the house.

The next day Sacramento County ACO Roy Marcum accompanied the bank representative when he returned to to Corey’s home on the 600 block of First Street for the purpose of taking custody of any animals at the property so they would not be left abandoned there.

As they approached the front door, believing that the property was now vacant, Corey fired a shot from inside with a high-powered rifle that went through the closed door and hit Officer Marcum in the upper body, according to court documents.

Deputy District Attorney William Satchell contended that Corey had armed himself with a .35 Whelen high-powered hunting rifle, waited for the law to return to his house and fired through the front door when Marcum walked up, thinking he was shooting a law-enforcement officer,  the Sacramento Bee reports.

A 17-hour standoff with officers ensued and Corey was finally taken into custody at the property.

Jennifer Mouzis, Corey’s defense attorney, stated that her client’s anxiety disorder led to his compulsive hoarding of trash in his house where he shot and killed Marcum. She had argued that his mental defect made him incapable of premeditating the killing.

Mouzis said that, while she respects the jury’s decision, she hoped “the evidence brings awareness to the issue of mental health.”

Deputy District Attorney William Satchell said, “The jury made the right decision, based on everything that was in front of it.” 

Judge Greta Curtis Fall set Corey’s sentencing for Dec. 12, at which time he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, KCRA reports.

As a result of the deadly shooting of Animal Control Officer Roy Marcum, Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed AB 1511, introduced by Assemblymember Beth Gaines and supported by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), California Animal Control Directors Association (CACDA) and other major California law-enforcement agencies, which would provide greater protection for animal control officers.

Attorney Harold Holmes of San Diego, who worked on the bill, states, “California’s Animal Control Officers (ACOs) are no longer mere ‘dog catchers’ chasing strays. ACOs enforce State and local laws pertaining to animals, protecting both public safety and animal welfare. In 2012, a tragedy occurred to an ACO, which was the impetus for this effort. That incident resulted in a death in the line of duty, which we hope will not be repeated.”

Sources: KCRA, (2), SacBee