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Man Found Guilty Of Murdering Ex-Wife In 2015

A Cottonwood man has been found guilty by a Tehama County jury of murdering his ex-wife and her father 2 years ago. The shooting happened in July of 2015 at a small grocery store in the gated community of Lake California on the south side of Cottonwood. 34-year-old John Noonkester had confronted 29-year-old Kimberlee Anne Thomas because he feared that their children were at risk of abuse by her new boyfriend. Thomas called 9-1-1 after Noonkester punched her father, 53-year-old Keith Vernon Thomas. The line disconnected and moments later multiple 9-1-1 callers reported shots fired. Noonkester had retrieved a deer rifle from his pickup to kill Keith Thomas before turning the gun on his ex-wife. Noonkester’s getaway was stopped by a man who blocked his exit with another pickup. Kimberlee was dead in the parking lot and her father lay in the doorway of the store. Another victim, 25-year-old Anthony Baugher, was just an innocent passerby. He had run away from the trouble and was shot in the back. The bullet went straight through without hitting anything vital.  Monday Noonkester’s trial concluded with verdicts of guilty on all counts, including special allegations and enhancements. When the verdicts were read, Noonkester had an outburst in the courtroom about his continued concern for the safety of his children. He faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.