Ramsey: Jury would say deputies acted in discharge of duties in shooting death of woman

Mike Ramsey shows recreation of deputy-involved shooting that killed 56-year-old Myra Micalizio on Apri 26, 2018.

The two Butte County deputies involved in the April 26th shooting death of Myra Micalizio, 56, will not face trial.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who heads the Butte County Officer Involved Shooting Protocol Team, said that in his judgement it would be impossible to convince 12 jurors that deputies Charles Lair and Mary Barker did not have a "palatable self-defense" argument.

Skeptical family members of Micalizio were permitted to watch Ramsey give a 90-minute presentation that gave a detailed account of what happened in the rural community of Palermo at 2185 Stanley Drive.

Neighbors called 911 reporting that Micalizio, whom none said they new, exhibited strange behavior including threatening to shoot them despite not being armed with a weapon. 911 was called.

Within one minute of their arrival to the disturbance deputies Charles Lair and Mary Barker encountered Micalizio walking toward her sedan. Both deputies said they did not see a weapon although they could not see her hands which were either behind or inside her pockets. Lair said he was concerned that she may have a gun in her hand due to the previous radio call about a possible weapon. However, a few seconds later Lair said that Micalizio showed her hands as he walked slowly toward her.

Micalizio got into her car as Lair walked toward the sedan when, according to the report, she suddenly turned on the vehicle and put it into reverse. Lair said the vehicle accelerated toward him, coming within 6-7 feet of his position at the rear driver's side.

According to the report, Lair said he believed Micalizio was intentionally attempting to run him over.

As the vehicle was coming toward him Lair fired nine shots, five of which hit Micalizio, who despite CPR, died at the scene 29 minutes later.

Barker, believing her partner was in danger, got off six shots, none of which struck Micalizio.

Ramsey said there was no criminal liability that can be found.

Citing several legal cases, including the right to stand one's ground and fear for one's life, Ramsey determined that a jury would conclude both deputies were acting in the discharge of their duties.

Missing from the report was video evidence.

Both deputies were equipped with body-worn cameras. However, they said the event happened so suddenly that there wasn't time to activate them until after the shooting.

While calling the shooting a tragedy, Ramsey said video would likely have corroborated statements from three witnesses.

"(The witnesses) noted that the deputies had no choice," said Ramsey. "They (said the deputies) had to do what they did."

Ramsey said the witnesses said Micalizio tried to run them over.

Ramsey and Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea called the shooting a tragedy.

Honea was limited by what he could say as the family is pursing a civil lawsuit.

"I came in wishing the best but expecting the worst," said Brenda Abrew, Micalizio's sister. "But, the worst just came out."

"It went as I thought it would," she said.

Both deputies involved in the shooting have since returned to active duty.

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