EL PASO, Texas - An El Paso man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for his role in a deadly stabbing during what police described as a "drug deal gone bad."
Friday, a jury found Marcelo Mailland guilty on a lesser charge of Murder for the 2016 killing of Christian Jorjorian during a drug deal in West El Paso. Prosecutors were seeking a conviction on a charge of Capital Murder.
El Paso Police said Mailland and Marco Antonio Nava set up a "narcotics transaction" with Jorjorian on August 15, 2016, on the 1000 block of Calle Parque Drive, near Franklin High School.
Mailland and Nava intended to steal drugs from Jorjorian, according to law enforcement. A complaint affidavit obtained by ABC-7 states Nava had been texting Jorjorian minutes before the killing. Nava told detectives Mailland shot Jorjorian when the armed robbery did not go as planned, according to court documents.
During closing arguments Friday, the defense attempted to cast doubt in the minds of jurors, arguing someone else could have killed Jorjorian.
A witness who testified for the State said he was playing basketball near the area where Jorjorian was killed and heard someone yell, "I'm going to shoot you." The defense argued there is no evidence to indicate Mailland was responsible for the threat. It could have been Jorjorian yelling, the defense argued.
Mailland's defense also told the jury the State failed to prove - beyond a reasonable doubt - that Mailland shot and killed Jorjoria, arguing there is no way anyone can know what exactly happened that night. The defense pleaded with the jury not to compromise verdict. The verdict, it said, has to be unanimous and it has to be "not guilty."
Nava pleaded guilty to murder December 4, 2017. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will be eligible for supervised release in about 12 years.
The prosecution based its closing argument on a taped police interview of Mailland, showing the jury the interview segment by segment. It told the jury Mailland's story changed at least three or four times, and that Mailland admitted to lying to detectives four times.
In the interview, Mailland is seen telling police the bullet casing "fell inside the car, (Nava) grabbed it and got rid of it." Mailland further states, "I didn't shoot (Jorjorian). I never fired the weapon, I didn't get to."
The prosecution asked the jury to pay close attention to the phrase "I didn't get to," arguing the statement revealed Mailland's intent to kill Jorjorian.
"I made the mistake of going there to rob him," Mailland is heard telling the cops.
The prosecution reminded the jury, that even if Mailland did not pull the trigger and it was Nava who pulled the trigger, that Mailland is still guilty of capital murder.
One of the prosecutors reminded the jury that when conspiring to commit a felony, and another felony occurs by one person, all people involved in the felony are guilty. "If you rob someone and you untintentionally kill him, it's felony murder. If you rob and intentionally kill him, it's capital murder," the prosecutor said.
Jorjorian's mother was visibly upset during portions of the police interview with Mailland. She shook her head and repeated some of Mailland's words, including the "I didn't get to" comment.