Murder suspect expected back in Douglas by mid-March |

Murder suspect expected back in Douglas by mid-March

by Sheila Gardner

District Attorney Mark Jackson said he anticipates murder suspect Jeanine Mona Escandon will be back in Douglas County by mid-March to answer a charge that she shot a 59-year-old Topaz Ranch Estates man to death last year.

The 38-year-old Escandon has been in custody in Los Angeles where she has been fighting extradition to Douglas County since her arrest Nov. 18.

She is charged with murder with the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon.

Escandon is accused of shooting Norman Welch in the back of the head. His body was found Nov. 15. Authorities believe he could have been dead up to two weeks.

“When she appeared in December in front of a superior court judge in Los Angeles, she refused to waive extradition. It required us to go through a lengthy process,” Jackson said.

Douglas County has to prove to the governors of Nevada and California that Escandon is the right suspect named in the warrant, and the process requires extensive documentation.

“It’s a lot of red tape,” Jackson said. “That process can take several months. It’s a pretty significant packet that gets put together which we submit to the Nevada governor through the attorney general’s office.”

He said the governor reviews the documentation, confirms that it is the suspect, and makes a request to the California governor’s office to return Escandon to Douglas County.

Jackson said he anticipates Escandon will be in Douglas County by March 15.

She is being held on $1 million bail in Los Angeles.

Escandon was arrested Nov. 18 at her brother’s residence in Los Angeles after she allegedly fled Douglas County in Welch’s vehicle.

According to court documents, she reportedly admitted shooting Welch but said it was an accident.

The criminal complaint alleges she acted “deliberately and with malice aforethought.”

According to court records, a neighbor told investigators he and his son heard Welch and Escandon arguing on Nov. 1 at the TRE home.

An expended 9 mm shell casing was on the floor near Welch’s body. He had a wound in the back of his head consistent with a bullet hole, and the autopsy revealed what appeared to be a 9 mm bullet.

Investigators went to Escandon’s brother’s address in Los Angeles and found her hiding in a closet.

Escandon reportedly told investigators she and Welch had argued and she hitchhiked to Los Angeles to get away from his abusive behavior.

When confronted about the missing vehicle, she reportedly admitted she stole the car.

She said on the day of the shooting, which was not specified, she and Welch were painting the residence and got into an argument before he lay down on a couch.

Escandon reportedly told authorities she retrieved a handgun from the couch cushions and began walking around the house handling the firearm.

She said she didn’t realize it was loaded or that the hammer of the gun was back and cocked.

Escandon said when she was near the couch, the gun discharged and a bullet struck Welch in the head as he lay on the couch.

Escandon said she panicked, grabbed Welch’s car keys and drove to State Route 208, headed for Yerington. The woman said she changed her mind and drove to Los Angeles, tossing the gun out the window at an undisclosed location.

Jackson said the delay in prosecution hasn’t hurt the case.

“The delay, based on her request to fight the extradition, has done nothing but help our case in the furtherance of the investigation, the opportunity to obtain search warrants and gather information,” Jackson said.

He said Welch’s family understood why the process was taking time.

“It’s distressing to anyone whose loved one is murdered. That’s unavoidable because they are dealing with that fact. If there is any comfort, it’s in the knowledge she is in custody and ultimately will be extradited here,” Jackson said. “We’re exercising our patience to make sure we’re prepared, and we are.”