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Investigation Continues in Case of NF Man Accused in Lee Homicide

MADERA — Lawyers and investigators are still trying to coordinate a visit to the crime scene in the case of a 47-year-old North Fork man charged with murder in the July shooting death of prominent Mono tribal elder Gaylen Lee.

Robert Moye Jr.

Robert Eugene Moye Jr. made another appearance in Madera County Superior Court on Monday (Dec. 2) morning.

Handcuffed and wearing shackles, Moye was dressed in a yellow and white-striped prison jump suit. Other than to acknowledge his name to Judge Dale Blea, he did not speak during the five-minute prelim setting hearing, during which his public defender, Craig Collins, attempted to reschedule a crime scene visit with Madera County Assistant District Attorney Brooke Bergman, who is prosecuting the case.

Collins told Judge Blea that a similar meeting involving the lawyers and an investigator from the Madera County Sheriff”s Office originally scheduled for last month had to be postponed.

More than a dozen of the victim’s relatives and friends attended this morning’s hearing, during which Judge Blea briefly exchanged scheduling information with attorneys and then set Moye’s next court appearance for Jan. 17, 2020.

Judge Blea also ordered that Moye’s bail remain at $3.75 million.

Moye has been held in the Madera County DOC since his arrest on July 6 of this year in the hours immediately following the shooting, which occurred near Lee’s home on Cascadel Drive (Road 233) in North Fork.

He has entered a plea of not guilty to the murder charge as well as two counts of attempted murder, being a felon/addict in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana/hashish for sale (over 2 ounces).

The shooting took place as Lee and his relatives were gathering at Lee’s residence following the passing of Lee’s mother, Ruby Pomona, who died on July 4.

Many of the details surrounding the late-night shooting have yet to be released by investigators but public defender Collins has told SNO that his client intends to argue self-defense.

Gaylen D. Lee (photo courtesy of Tom Wheeler)

Lee’s relatives and friends have traveled from North Fork as well as from Lemoore and as far south as San Diego to attend each of the more than half dozen preliminary hearings held in the case so far.

Collins said after a hearing held in October that he is preparing to go to trial sometime in 2020.

“It doesn’t matter how long this goes on, we’ll be here every time [Moye] appears in court to show our support and respect for Gaylen,” said one relative after Monday morning’s hearing.

In September, more than one hundred people, including Lee’s family, friends and former colleagues, gathered at an emotional memorial held at Fresno State. The two-hour-long tribute, titled “Remembering the Life of an Amazing Man: Nim Elder and North Fork Mono Tribal Archaeologist Gaylen Lee,” was hosted by longtime Fresno State anthropology professor Dr. John Pryor.

Lee, 70 at the time of his death, was the author of “Walking Where We Lived,” a personal history of his North Fork Mono Indian family. A former student and then widely respected colleague of Dr. Pryor at Fresno State, Lee, at different times of his life, was also a successful businessman, director at the North Fork Indian Health Center and an athletic coach and mentor to area youth.

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