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Oakdale man convicted for 2019 fatal shooting
William Beck Usilton III

A Stanislaus County jury has found an Oakdale man guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting another man in the face, the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced.

William Beck Usilton III, 30, of Oakdale was found guilty by the jury on July 16 on the charges of voluntary manslaughter and personal use of a firearm.

The charges against Usilton stem from the fatal shooting of Cody Sorensen, 25.

The Oakdale Police Department was dispatched to the Bonnie Villa Apartments at 333 Poplar St., around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 10, 2019 for a report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, the officers were told by four witnesses that Usilton had just shot Sorensen in the face.

After clearing the apartment and detaining Usilton, officers found 25-year-old Cody Sorensen with a gunshot wound to his face. Paramedics pronounced Sorenson dead at the scene.

According to the court records, the witnesses said Usilton and Sorensen had been at the H-B Saloon together earlier that evening, but after returning to the apartment, an argument occurred during which Usilton grabbed a handgun, chambered a round and shot Sorensen.

Usilton told officers that Sorensen was an “uninvited guest” and that Usilton’s girlfriend had let Sorensen in to retrieve some belongings from inside the apartment. During the jury trial, Usilton claimed he shot Sorensen in self-defense, but was unable to identify how Sorenson posed a reasonable threat of death or great bodily injury that justified the shooting.

After a two-week trial presided over by Judge Linda McFadden, the jury returned a verdict convicting Usilton of voluntary manslaughter along with an enhancement for using a firearm during the commission of the offense.

Victim impact statements and sentencing are currently set for Sept. 20, before Judge McFadden. Usilton faces a potential maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison.