Convicted killer Brian Waldron dropped F-bombs, told his lawyers they did a lousy job, and interrupted the judge several times before leaving a Fresno courtroom Thursday under heavy security.
He then went ballistic in a courthouse holding cell --screaming, cursing, and laughing loudly.
Because he declined to return to the courtroom, Waldron was sentenced in Fresno County Superior Court in absentia.
Judge Hilary Chittick sentenced him to 28 years to life in prison for killing 21-year-old Jonathan Taylor and cutting up the body before burying it near Courtright Reservoir in October 2008.
Afterwards, attorneys James Lambe and Stephanie Negin, who defended Waldron, said it was sad ending for a man who once worked as a Fresno paralegal but fell into the depths of mental illness.
"Though his illness didn't rise to the legal definition of insanity, it's upsetting to see someone get unhinged," Lambe said.
From the get-go, Waldron, 55, insisted that he killed in self-defense, saying he feared for his life because Taylor associated with a violent Fresno Bulldog gang.
And after the killing, he voluntarily gave his account of the slaying to police.
But a jury said he was a killer.
After deliberating 10 hours over three days, jurors convicted Waldron of first-degree murder and mutilation of a corpse. When the verdict was announced, Waldron let out a hearty laugh, saying "Go Bulldogs. Right on!"
Police say Taylor was dismembered inside Waldron's apartment on East Fountain Way near Maple and Shields avenues on Oct. 24, 2008. He was killed on the same day he was released from prison after doing time for stealing a car. And at the time of his death, his blood-alcohol was .14, nearly twice the legal limit to drive, and he also had a high level of methamphetamines in his body.
Waldron was drinking corn whiskey, smoking cigarettes and listening to Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," when Taylor unexpectedly came to Waldron's apartment.
Waldron did not testify in his trial, but in his police interview, he said: "He tried to jack me and I killed him."
He told detectives how he was minding his own business when he noticed Taylor lurking outside his apartment. Taylor then walked into his unit and sat down in the living room without permission.
Waldron told detectives that Taylor bugged him for a cigarette and liquor and wouldn't leave. Taylor also lit matches and threw them on the carpet, he said.
Waldron insisted that Taylor instigated the fight by grabbing a flashlight and swinging it at him. In a struggle, Waldron said, he feared for his life, so he hit Taylor with a metal pipe.
Lambe told the jury Waldron had a right to fear for his life: Taylor had gang tattoos including on his face to show his allegiance to the Pinedale Bulldogs. He also had a shaved head and dressed and acted like a gang member, Lambe said.
But prosecutor Robert Romanacce told jurors that Waldron locked the front door right before he killed Taylor and didn't call 911. He also said Waldron had cleaned up the bloody mess before surrendering to police and had put charcoal on the remains to mask the smell.
In killing Taylor, the blows were so hard, Taylor's blood hit the ceiling of Waldron's apartment, Romanacce told the jury. "He beat the hell out of him," Romanacce said, quoting Waldron's own words to police.
Waldron then dragged the body to a bathtub and used a knife and tree saw for dismembering, Romanacce said.
In court Monday, Waldron said he couldn't believe a jury convicted him of killing a gang member. "I get first-degree murder for locking the front door," he said.
He also asked Romanacce, "If I created the perfect murder then how did I screw up?"
Romanacce pointed out that Waldon had smoked a pipe after he killed Taylor and before he cut up the body.
When Waldron became irritated Thursday, Chittick asked him to let his lawyers speak for him. But Waldron shot back: "I'm thought I was on trial. I thought I was being sentenced."
Before leaving the courtroom on his own volition, Waldron gave a parting shot: "Bye, everyone. It's been real."
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