Piano may offer clues in homicide case

Posted by: Piano World

Piano may offer clues in homicide case - 05/31/08 10:33 PM

Ok, not your usual Piano story...

© May 31, 2008 ChicoER.com

Piano may offer clues in homicide case
By GREG WELTER -Staff Writer
Article Launched: 05/28/2008 12:07:31 AM PDT


CHICO — Sonoma County Sheriff's investigators believe a piano sold recently by a homicide suspect from Chico might help them understand why he allegedly killed his grandfather last week.
They said Sean Patrick Mooney, 20, conducted a large yard sale at his parent's home on Rio Bravo Drive within the last two months, and reportedly sold an expensive upright piano at a bargain price.

Detective Joe Dullworth said investigators hope to learn more about the transaction in an attempt to develop a motive for the shotgun death of Mooney's grandfather, Robert Ferris Deming, 77. The victim's body was found inside his south Sonoma County home on the night of May 20.

Dullworth emphasized that the piano was legally sold and the person who bought it is not in any trouble. "We're just seeking information," he said. Mooney had reportedly been living at the Rio Bravo home, north of Chico, since his parents temporarily moved to Sonoma County to help care for the elderly Deming.

A woman identified as Mooney's fiancé reportedly helped him with the yard sale and may have been involved in the sale of the piano.

Investigators said Mooney traveled to his grandfather's home in the small community of Schellville May 20, with the intention of killing him.

Although he called 9-1-1 to report finding his grandfather dead inside the home, and fabricated a story about two gunmen entering the residence and shooting Deming — Mooney soon confessed to the alleged murder.

Investigators consider money — possibly an inheritance — a motive for the killing. Deming was found mortally wounded by a shotgun blast to the back of his head. Deputies recovered a shotgun at the scene.

Mooney's parents were out at the time of the shooting, but returned soon afterward.

The suspect is being held without bail in the Sonoma County Jail in Santa Rosa. He was arraigned on Friday, but Dullworth said he didn't enter a plea, pending further consultation with his defense attorney.

It's unknown how long Mooney lived in Chico. Records indicate he graduated from Oroville-based Hearthstone Charter School in 2005.

Anyone with information about the purchase of the piano is asked to call the detective Dullworth at 1-707-565-8856.


Staff writer Greg Welter can be reached at 896-7768 or gwelter@chicoer.com.