Brian Waldron is accused of killing and dismembering his neighbor's 21-year-old son. Defense attorneys started the trial trying to establish why Waldron might have been afraid of Jonathan Taylor.
Then, they attacked a witness who said Waldron confessed the crime while in jail. But so far, they haven't had Waldron explain what he did and why.
With two lawyers by his side, Brian Waldron told Fresno police he killed a man in self-defense in October 2008. He said Jonathan Taylor attacked him, they fought back and forth, and he eventually beat Taylor to death with a pipe.
The two men had known each other for a while and Waldron told police Taylor claimed to be a gang member. Two police officers testified Monday about hearing similar claims while arresting Taylor before he was killed.
"Mr. Taylor told me he was a Bulldog gang member and he was initiated by being jumped in," said Fresno police officer Benjamin Williams.
"He claimed he was a Fresno Bulldog gang member and said he'd been running or associating or occupying the gang for about five years," said Clovis police officer Lonnie Amerjan.
Waldron told police he dismembered the body and got rid of it in the Sierra National Forest because he thought Taylor might have dangerous friends. But during his murder trial, two men contradicted the story.
One of them said years before the killing, Waldron described how he might kill a man fitting Taylor's description. And a fellow inmate told district attorney's investigators Waldron confessed how Taylor really died after demanding beer and a rolled cigarette from Waldron.
" Waldron said, fine, I'll get you a beer' and then he told him go ahead and roll a cigarette," said DA investigator Shelly Sweeton. "[He] goes into the kitchen to get a beer and instead grabs a pipe and says, 'I've got your beer for you' and when the subject looked up, he hit him over the head, using the word 'whack.'"
Defense attorneys challenged both stories, questioning whether the first man got his details from news stories and whether the second gave information to get favorable treatment in his own criminal case.
In opening statements, Waldron's defense attorney said he expected his client to testify during the trial. On Monday evening, his attorneys tell me he's still deciding whether he'll actually take the stand.