Crime

Paso Robles man sentenced to prison for fatal shooting

Thomas Yanaga listens to witness testimony Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, during his murder trial.
Thomas Yanaga listens to witness testimony Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, during his murder trial. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A Paso Robles resident who claimed he killed a man in self-defense was sentenced Thursday to 40 years to life in prison.

A jury convicted Thomas Nolan Yanaga, 53, last month of second-degree murder, rejecting the defense argument that he faced imminent danger when he shot Marshall Savoy, 32. According to trial testimony, Yanaga shot Savoy five times, once in the back, after Savoy intervened during an argument between Yanaga and his wife.

Savoy died shortly after midnight March 14 in the Yanagas' driveway, the fatal bullet having pierced his heart.

Yanaga told police Savoy had tried to fight him. Despite asking Savoy to leave, Yanaga said, Savoy charged at him, forcing him to shoot. But the prosecution argued that Yanaga, obsessed with guns, could have called 911 rather than shoot an unarmed man.

Yanaga had no serious prior criminal history prior to the shooting. But while out on bail, he was arrested in Kings County for attempted murder in an unrelated case. He still faces charges there.

During his sentencing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday, both Yanaga and the victim's sister, Kendra Savoy, offered statements.

While second-degree murder entails a 15-year-to-life term, Yanaga faced enhanced sentencing for using a firearm during the commission of the murder.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

  Comments