Witness to shooting testifies in Yanaga murder trial

September 10, 2015
Marshall Savoy and Ashley Moss

Marshall Savoy and Ashley Moss

A teary witness took the stand in a murder trial Wednesday and testified she saw a Paso Robles man shoot and kill her boyfriend earlier this year. [KSBY]

Thomas Yanaga, 53, is standing trial for second-degree murder. Prosecutors allege he shot and killed Atascadero resident Marshall Savoy, 32, after the victim tried to break up an argument between Yanaga and his wife.

Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu argues Yanaga shot Savoy in self defense after Savoy charged at him. The incident occurred on March 14 at Yanaga’s home.

On Wednesday, the prosecution’s key witness, Ashely Moss, took the stand. Moss, who was living at Yanaga’s home and dating Savoy at the time of the shooting, testified Yanaga shot Savoy with a “happy smirk” on his face.

Prior to the shooting, Moss invited Savoy to Yanaga’s home, where she had moved in just five days prior.

Thomas Yanaga

Thomas Yanaga

Moss testified she did methamphetamine with Yanaga earlier that evening.

After Savoy arrived, the couple heard Yanaga and his wife yelling at each other inside the house. Savoy went inside the home to stop the fight, Moss testified.

At the time, Moss was watching from her trailer on the property, she testified. She said she heard Savoy yelling at Yanaga and telling him to treat women with respect.

Moss then ran to the back of the house and watched from a kitchen window as Yanaga walked into the kitchen, grabbed a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun from the kitchen counter, loaded the clip with a happy smirk and then shouted “Hey Marshall,” Moss testified. Yanaga then shot Savoy five times, Moss said.

During her testimony, Moss cried. She also admitted she was high while testifying during a preliminary hearing in April.

Moss testified she is sober now. But, she still has a history of mental problems, including PTSD, a brain injury and a lack of long and short term memory, Moss said.

During opening statements on Tuesday, prosecutor Charlie Blair acknowledged Moss is a very troubled young lady.

Funke-Bilu said Moss lied in her testimony Tuesday, and he would question her inconsistencies for two or three hours on Thursday. The defense attorney said he feels sorry for Moss, but she is doing a major injustice to his client, and he will not tolerate that.

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What is the status of Yanaga’s attempted murder arrest in the Valley; after he made bail on this charge?

Theory #1: Yanaga did meth with the new girl “for some reason,” pissed off his wife (probably for the same reason), and when the girls boyfriend dissed him, he shot him. Simple. Will the wife be a witness?

A wife cannot be compelled to testify against her husband.

He yelled at Savoy to “treat women with respect”. – the meth head with the heart of gold.

nope. you got the players mixed up.

Yelled at Yamagata rather. Savoy is the meth head with the heart of gold, though, for coming to the defense of women even while in a meth induced stupor.

Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu argues Yanaga shot Savoy in self defense after Savoy charged at him.


Defense attorneys are paid liars. Very well paid liars in privately retained murder cases. Is Blu hoping the jury is too dumb to look at the physical evidence?

1. Why would the person “charge” someone with a loaded gun? Explain that one first. Was the gun hidden or something? If not, explain why the charger was suicidal.

2. When the victim “charger” got to the shooter, what was he going to do? You don’t get to shoot people dead just because they are coming at you. That’s not the standard. You have to be in reasonable fear of a life or death situation before you can kill. What was the reasonable fear in this case? Did the charger have a weapon? Did the charger have a known history of beating people to near death that the shooter knew about?

3. What do the ballistics results say about how far away the shooter was from the victim? Where did the body drop? What angle did the bullets hit? What do the blood splatters show? It’s very possible the ballistics can prove there was no charging going on because the victim was shot from a distance or with his back up against a wall or across a counter for examples.

Bottom line, if Yanaga doesn’t take the stand, you know he’s guilty and it’s just whether or not they can prove it.