Mal­don­ado found guilty of murder

Jury still to de­lib­er­ate death penalty

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

It took eight days to try the case against Pablo Mal­don­ado but just over an hour for a jury to con­vict the 25-year-old of the murder of 53-yearold Tim Clements.

Both de­fense at­tor­ney Stephen Yekel and Dis­trict At­tor­ney Layla Zon thanked the ju­rors for their time – not just in the trial, but dur­ing jury se­lec­tion – be­fore be­gin­ning their clos­ing ar­gu­ments Fri­day morn­ing.

Yekel told ju­rors to use their com­mon sense, but to also take into con­sid­er­a­tion the cred­i­bil­ity of the wit­nesses, in­clud­ing Mal­don­ado’s co-de­fen­dant’s.

“If you have that doubt you have to ac­quit, the law re­quires that you ac­quit,” he told them.

Yekel also spoke quite a bit about Jonathan Har­ris, the elu­sive “J-Dawg” that he con­tends was the one who ac­tu­ally killed Clements. He also spoke to the be­liev­abil­ity – or lack thereof – of Chris­tian Cald­well, Brit­tany Beasley and Ka­tria McClain.

“I don’t think Chris­tian Cald­well would know the truth if it came up and bit him... Chris­tian Cald­well took this bat, and he beat Mr. Clements with it. And he was gonna’ keep beat­ing him un­til he didn’t get up, be­cause it didn’t hap­pen like he said,” Yekel said.

“Mr. Mal­don­ado is not to­tally in­no­cent and I ask you to find him guilty of those things that he did... Pablo is not guilty of murder; he was not swing­ing that bat... I ask you to find Mr. Mal­don­ado guilty of what he did

do. Of rob­bery, of forgery, of con­ceal­ing the death... he’s part of that. Find him guilty for what he did... he did not murder Mr. Clements. He set him up, I don’t think there’s any ques­tion about that. I think he ran his mouth and got him­self into some­thing he couldn’t get out of. It got overblown and no­body thought it would hap­pen, but it did.”

Zon told ju­rors there was “a dark cloud” hang­ing over Kirk­land Road the week Clements was killed.

“There ex­isted a per­fect storm of de­praved hu­man­ity… The per­fect cast of in­di­vid­u­als. A match made in hell. What a dis­as­ter, this group of in­di­vid­u­als to­gether... When you match Chris­tian Cald­well and Pablo Mal­don­ado, you get what hap­pened on June 11, 2009. That man over there is not just guilty of murder, he’s guilty of rob­bery, and to­day we are here for the truth.”

Ac­cord­ing to Zon, the mo­tive was al­ways money. Not only was Mal­don­ado in debt to Clements for thou­sands of dol­lars, he was broke, his bills were due and the “gra- vy train was com­ing to a halt.”

“He couldn’t do what he wanted to do to Tim Clements on his own, so he ma­nip­u­lates them,” she said. Say­ing that Cald­well was “street smart” and would never have par­tic­i­pated if he didn’t think there was some­thing in it for him.

“What he is and who he is and why it wasn’t hard for him to take that ham­mer and strike the hand that fed him... It’s tough to swal­low com­ing from these kids, see­ing what they are ca­pa­ble of... some­thing very evil; some­thing much worse than them was able to get these kids to do that. And that some­thing is right here sit­ting at that ta­ble. That some­thing is Pablo Mal­don­ado.”

The jury went out to de­lib­er­ate around 2: 20 p. m. and came back with a ver­dict roughly an hour later, find­ing Mal­don­ado guilty of mal­ice murder, felony murder, armed rob­bery, ag­gra­vated as­sault, false im­pris­on­ment, con­ceal­ing the death of an­other, kid­nap­ping and forgery. The penalty phase of the trial will be­gin Tues­day, when de­fense at­tor­neys at­tempt to con­vince the jury not to sen­tence Mal­don­ado to death for the murder of Tim Clements.

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