Teenage co-de­fen­dant tells her side to ju­rors in death penalty trial

The Covington News - - Front page - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­news.com

Ka­tria McClain was just 16 years old when she was charged as an adult in the murder of 53-year-old Cony­ers land­scaper Tim Clements. On the third day of the death penalty trial against al­leged ring­leader Pablo Mal­don­ado, ju­rors sat rapt as she gave de­tails of how the plan to rob Clements turned into a plan to murder him.

McClain, who en­tered a ne- go­ti­ated plea to con­spir­acy to com­mit murder in 2010, has yet to be sen­tenced. The ac­cep­tance of her plea is con­tin­gent on her giv­ing tes­ti­mony against Mal­don­ado, her boyfriend at the time of the murder.

She said that on Mon­day of the week of Clements’ death, she first heard his name come up in con­ver­sa­tion with Mal­don­ado and co-de­fen­dants Chris­tian Cald­well (who en­tered a plea Thurs­day) and

Brit­tany Beasley. McClain tes­ti­fied that Mal­don­ado poured wa­ter on the floor of his du­plex (which Clements owned) and called the vic­tim to tell him there was a leak. The ini­tial plan was that Cald­well would go to Clements’ truck while he was inside and steal his money pouch. But the plan failed when Cle- ments brought the pouch in with him.

Tues­day they tried again, with­out suc­cess. It was then that the talk turned deadly.

“There was a plan to rob him that kind of turned into a plan to kill him,” she said.

McClain con­tin­ued, say­ing that they first de­cided to rob and kill Clements, then take his body to his home, kill his wife and daugh­ter, and then burn the house — with the three bod­ies inside of it — to the ground.

“When the plan was done, there was an agree­ment that Tim Clements was not go­ing to live.”

Al­though the teenager was sup­posed to help out on the morn­ing of Clements’ murder, she didn’t show up. She stayed in her bed de­spite sev­eral vis­its from the three oth­ers to her home, feign­ing sick­ness. When asked why she didn’t fol­low through with the plan she told ju­rors, “I just, I just couldn’t go. I couldn’t.”

When Beasley came to her home later that day, she al­legedly whis­pered to McClain that “they did it. He’s in the closet.” Then the girls watched a movie and ate Chee­tos and cher­ries with McClain’s lit­tle sis­ter.

Af­ter hours of tes­ti­mony, McClain left the stand. Ju­rors head from oth­ers throughout the day, in­clud­ing a woman who lived in the same neigh­bor­hood at the time of the murder who told ju­rors that she had gone to speak with Cald­well on June 11, 2009 and had seen a blan­ket or a sheet in the open truck of Mal­don­ado’s ve­hi­cle. She also said that al­though Cald­well had been say­ing “vul­gar” things about her around the neigh­bor­hood, that night he was quick to apol­o­gize, go­ing so far as to drop to his knees, apol­o­gize and beg her to leave as Mal­don­ado be­rated him in front of her, telling Cald­well to get her to leave and that he “couldn’t do any­thing right,” ac­cord­ing to her tes­ti­mony.

The day ended with a 911 tape. The last record­ing of Clements’ voice rang through the court­room as he re­ported to 911 — just days be­fore his murder — that some­one had been van­dal­iz­ing the du­plex next to Mal­don­ado’s.

As he spoke, his widow Bar­bara, hung her head down and wiped at her eyes with a tis­sue.

The trial will continue in the court­room of Judge Ho­race John­son Mon­day.

Gabriel Khouli /The Cov­ing­ton News

Ac­cused killer of a Rock­dale land­scaper, Pablo Mal­don­ado ap­peared in New­ton County Su­pe­rior Court ear­lier this week.

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