FRESNO (AP) — A Fresno County murder defendant acknowledged beating his alleged victim with a metal pipe before dismembering his body with a knife and hacksaw in a bathtub in a chilling video confession played in court.
Brian Waldron, 54, is accused of killing Jonathan Taylor at Waldron's home on Oct. 24, 2008. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and mutilation charges and says he acted in self-defense.
In a video confession taken by police days after the killing, Waldron says Taylor came into his apartment uninvited and bragged about his involvement in home invasion robberies. He initially didn't know who Taylor was, but then figured out he was the son of a neighbor, according to the confession. He also noticed a gang tattoo on Taylor's face, he said.
The confession was played for Judge Hilary Chittick during pre-trial hearings on Monday. The judge said she wanted to ensure the transcript of Waldron's police interview was accurate in case the prosecution presents it at trial, according to the Fresno Bee (http://bit.ly/OoWiXy).
According to Waldron, the two men got into a struggle during which Taylor swung a metal flashlight at Waldron and Waldron grabbed it and hit him on the head.
Waldron told police he thought Taylor, 21, was on drugs because flashlight blows had no effect on him. He hit him with the metal pipe after Taylor allegedly threatened to kill him.
"I remember swinging that thing and beating the hell out of him," Waldron said. "I'm feeling pretty threatened at that time. I'm scared and I'm pissed."
The killing left blood all over his apartment that Waldron said he cleaned up with a rug shampoo machine, scrubbers and rags. He said he dismembered Taylor's body and hid the parts in the mountains because he feared Taylor's family and friends would find out.
Prosecutors have disputed Waldron's account, saying there was no evidence Taylor was a gang member and no broken glass or furniture to indicate a violent struggle. A neighbor testified during the preliminary hearing that Taylor and Waldron appeared to be friendly on Oct. 24, and Waldron invited him into the apartment.
Authorities have also said Waldron, a former paralegal, failed to call 911 and put charcoal with the remains to hide the odor.
The trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 27.