Trial begins for teen charged in videotaped killing of father in West Rogers Park alley
BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Criminal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2013 8:08PM
Updated: June 25, 2013 6:41AM
Anthony Malcolm told Chicago Police detectives he wasn’t certain his friend was going to clock the older man collecting soda cans in the West Rogers Park alley.
Even after Malik Jones allegedly boasted on video “I think I’m gonna knock this mother f----- out.”
Even after, Cook County prosecutors said, another pal also expressed his desire to attack the unsuspecting Delfino Mora, 62.
Malcolm clearly knew from his friends’ declarations that Mora would be harmed, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorneys Risa Lanier and James Murphy said at the opening of Malcolm’s bench trial Thursday.
But defense attorneys argued that all Malcolm did in the early morning hours of July 10 was hold a cellphone camera — inadvertently filming the fatal punch that claimed the life of Mora.
“He didn’t do it,” Malcolm’s lawyer Daniel Coyne said after the day’s testimony, distancing his client from the murder of the renowned Mexican musician and father of 12.
Malcolm and his two friends — they’ll be tried separately — are all charged with murder.
Prosecutors argued that Malcolm was as culpable as Jones and Nicholas Ayala who, authorities say, proceeded to rifle through Mora’s wallet as he lay dying in an alley in the 6300 block of North Artesian.
Gales of laughter from the teens could be heard on the dramatic one-minute recording that prosecutors presented in court Thursday.
Mora, who was holding a red aluminum can when he was approached by the youths, apparently didn’t seem to understand Jones and looked toward Ayala, thinking he spoke Spanish, prosecutors said.
“Got some money in your pocket?” the teen prosecutors identified as Jones asked the confused Mora.
Then, that teen can be seen punching Mora once in the jaw.
“Bitch,” Jones allegedly hissed as the 5-foot-5-inch Mora crashed hard on the pavement — a shocking scene that elicited gasps from the deceased man’s large family watching the trial.
It was a clip Malcolm, now 19, admitted he watched at least once before his arrest.
Jones had allegedly handed his phone to Ayala, and Ayala passed the cell to Malcolm who recorded the deadly blow that ended up on Facebook and was seen by a friend of one of Mora’s sons.
“Did you see the man’s head hit the concrete?” Area North detective Juan Carlos Morales asked Malcolm in an interrogation video that was also played in Judge Joseph Claps’ courtroom Thursday.
“That could have been my grandfather,” the detective said in the video.
“It happens,” replied Malcolm, who told the officers he hopes to join the Marines after high school and eventually become a cop.
Malcolm could be heard on tape telling officers that he didn’t “want to be a snitch” but then went on to discuss details of the crime.
During cross-examination, Coyne insinuated that it was Morales who concluded the trio was playing a game of “Pick ’em out and knock ’em down” when in actuality Malcolm said it was more of a “random occasion.”
Malcolm repeatedly said he was never sure if Jones would carry out his plans to hit Mora, Coyne pointed out.
“The defendant said, ‘It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,’” Coyne said.
Malcolm’s bench trial is expected to resume on June 18.
Jones, 17, and 18-year-old Ayala are awaiting trial in the case.