Former Fresno paralegal on trial for murder, dismemberment

FRESNO, Calif.

We should warn you: the details of the case against Brian Waldron are disturbing. Even his defense attorney admits it. But Waldron says everything he did was justified.

Waldron admitted he killed Jonathan Taylor, cut up the body, and disposed of it up near Shaver Lake. But he says Taylor started the confrontation, and the rest of his actions can be explained by his belief that Taylor was a gang member.

The end result is undisputed. Jonathan Taylor is dead, forever remembered in his family's mind at the age of 21. His mother's neighbor, Brian Waldron, killed him in October 2008. Prosecutors say it was murder, and Waldron finished off his twisted act with a couple more disturbing criminal acts, beginning by dismembering the body.

"[He] packaged him up, drove up to the mountains and buried him in a grave," said prosecutor Robert Romanacce.

Investigators only discovered the homicide three days later when Waldron and two defense attorneys came to Fresno police headquarters. In an hour long taped interview, Waldron said Taylor walked in the open door of his small Central Fresno apartment. He said he believed Taylor was a Bulldog gang member, and the two men talked about a tattoo on Taylor's face.

"I said to him, 'What's that 'B' for?'" Waldron said in the interview. "And he says 'Oh, Pinedale Bulldogs.'"

The tattoo was actually a 'P' and a 'D', not a 'B'.

Waldron said Taylor also talked about committing home invasions, which scared him, so he closed his door and locked it. He said Taylor asked for a cigarette, and some alcohol, and when he refused, Taylor attacked him. Waldron said the fight went back and forth until he beat Taylor to death with a pipe. His attorney says fear of being discovered by other gang members left Waldron with a tough decision.

"And that decision is this: What do I do now with the dead body that appears to be a Bulldog gang member in my own apartment," said defense attorney Jim Lambe.

When police asked Waldron why he didn't just leave his apartment instead of locking himself inside with Taylor, his attorneys stepped in and wouldn't let him answer. That's how the interview ended.

Waldron is expected to testify in this trial, though, so he may have to explain that in the coming weeks.

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