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Clay Martin Burt Murray


Opening statements in the murder trial involving a man charged with fatally shooting a woman in his Lompoc residence in 2014 were delayed Thursday at the Santa Maria Superior Court due to the defendant's reported illness. 

Clay Martin Burt Murray, 67, is charged with special circumstances murder, and also faces a special allegation of intentional discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury to Rebecca Maxicine Yap.

Yap was 37 when she died. Her last known place of residence was in Santa Maria. 

Supervising Deputy District Attorney Stephen Foley is leading the prosecution team, while attorneys Adrian Galvan and Michael Carty are representing Murray.

On Thursday morning, Judge Gustavo Lavayen apologized to the jury and ordered them to return at 9 a.m. Friday to begin the trial due to Murray's medical condition. Murray, who's been making his appearances in a wheelchair, had to quickly be ushered out of the courtroom by the bailiff Thursday morning before the jury came in. 

The judge also ordered the Santa Barbara County Jail's medical staff to assess Murray and to disclose to the court his condition, all of his symptoms and treatment provided.

Additionally, he also asked the defendant's counsel to remain in contact with their client and provide the court with regular updates on his condition, in case he couldn't be transported to court Friday.

The estimated time for trial is about four weeks.

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According to Lompoc Police, authorities arrived at the scene in the 300 block of North Daisy Street just before 9 p.m. Oct. 13, 2014, after responding to reports of gunshots being fired.

Upon arrival, Yap was found, conscious and able to speak to responding officials when they arrived. Yap allegedly identified Murray as the shooter before being taken to the Lompoc Valley Medical Center, where she died as a result of her injuries. Yap reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to her abdomen. 

Murray was taken into custody on suspicion of murder shortly after. He was held to answer to the charges following the preliminary hearing that was held three years ago. During the 2015 preliminary hearing, detectives testified about details found in the surveillance video footage that reportedly showed Murray repeatedly hitting Yap with a half of a cue stick, chasing her with a gun and yelling that he would beat her to death. 

Shortly after, Murray reportedly got control of a gun, and two gunshot wounds were heard, according to prior testimony. The alleged shooting was only heard in the video. 

Another officer testified during the preliminary hearing that the alleged victim and defendant were the only two found at the premises that night when police responded to the scene.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210