Fresno paralegal's deadly attack pre-planned, friend says

The former Fresno paralegal on trial for murder is facing a friend who's challenging the defendant's claim of self-defense.
November 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The former Fresno paralegal on trial for murder is facing a friend who's challenging the defendant's claim of self-defense.

We want to warn you strongly that the details from this trial are disturbing.

Waldron says he killed Jonathan Taylor during a fight and disposed of the body because he thought Taylor was a gang member whose friends would retaliate. But one of Waldron's former friends says he was suspicious as soon as he heard details of the homicide.

Inside the Fresno police headquarters, Brian Waldron built his case for self-defense in the killing of Jonathan Taylor. He claimed the 21-year-old attacked him, they fought back and forth, and he eventually beat Taylor to death with a pipe. He explained the fact that he dismembered the body and got rid of it in the Sierra National Forest by saying he believed Taylor was a gang member with dangerous friends. When the details aired on ABC30 in October 2008, William Hawes says he freaked out.

"Because that's what he told me years ago that he would do to this person," Hawes said.

We're not allowed to show Hawes' face, but he described himself as a former friend of Waldron's. He says a few years before Taylor's death, Waldron had complained of a teenager who often came into his apartment and asked for cigarettes and alcohol. Hawes suggested Waldron punch the guy. He says Waldron took it a giant step further.

"He goes 'I got a better idea,' Hawes said.

"What'd he say?" asked prosecutor Robert Romanacce.

"Whack him in the back of the head, drag him into the bathroom, cut him up into pieces and bury him in a shallow grave," Hawes said.

Defense attorney Jim Lambe questioned why Hawes waited three days to call police with his information. He also tried to nail down exactly what Hawes had already read before making that call. But Hawes did give police some details that never appeared in any news report, like Waldron describing the hypothetical killing as being like deer hunting.

Hawes said he was torn between doing the right thing and being a rat, but decided he needed to come forward. Waldron is facing life in prison if he's convicted.


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