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Sentencing In Toll Plaza Murders Delayed; Killer Hurls More Insults At Victims’ Families

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Nathan Burris

Nathan Burris (Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office)

MARTINEZ (CBS SF) – Sentencing was delayed Tuesday morning for a man who gunned down his ex-girlfriend and her friend at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza in 2009.

Nathan Burris, 49, of Richmond, was convicted of two counts of murder last month for stalking and killing Richmond woman and Caltrans toll-taker Deborah Ross, 51, and Ersie “Chuckie” Everette, 58, a Golden Gate Transit bus driver from San Leandro, on Aug. 5, 2009.

The jury later gave Burris the death penalty, with his sentencing set for Tuesday morning.

Since Burris represented himself at his trial, he has the right to access a county law library and to make phone calls in preparation for court hearings.

But Burris’ attorney Larry Barnes, who is acting as his advisory counsel, told the court Tuesday that the sheriff’s department illegally prevented his client from doing research for his hearing.

Judge John W. Kennedy agreed to continue the sentencing to Jan. 18 to grant Burris his right to prepare for the hearing.

“This is a matter of great importance not only to Mr. Burris, but to the families of the victims,” the judge said. “There is a cost to both sides, and it’s a substantial cost.”

Several of the victims’ family members attended the sentencing hearing Tuesday morning.

Burris hurled expletive-laden insults at the family members, as he has done throughout the trial, after they laughed at something he said.

“You can keep laughing, but they ain’t coming back,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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