Judge convicts man of VSU student's brutal beating death

By Tara Morgan - bio | email | facebook

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -  A judge late Wednesday night convicted a Petersburg man of first degree murder in the brutal beating of a VSU student.

24-year-old Deondray Maddox took the stand in his own defense. But the judge said he didn't believe his story about what happened that fateful night last October.

Before convicting Maddox, the judge said he could not believe how anyone, including Maddox, could look at those gruesome autopsy photos and believe they were not killing someone.

The judge said the act of using a baseball bat over and over again screams of malice.

One prosecutor demonstrated with a bat the blows dealt to VSU tennis standout, Daron Jack, in his own bedroom. At least 11 strikes to the head. Crime scene photos show the room covered in blood.

Testimony also revealed paint chips from the bat were found in Jack's skull, Jack choked on his own blood and there was evidence of strangulation.

Maddox, who was arrested while on probation for a 2003 robbery, testified he and Jack were hanging out when the two started arguing. Maddox said, at one point, Jack asked why he was having sex with his girl.

Maddox said Jack pulled a gun. When Maddox threw a punch, he claims the gun went off and the bullet missed him. Prosecutors said evidence shows there was no gun residue on Jack's hands.

Maddox said he grabbed a metal bat and started hitting Jack to stop the threat. Maddox said he wasn't planning to kill him.

While Jack was on the bed, bleeding, prosecutors said Maddox could have left, but instead cut the electrical cord from a radio and tried to tie Jack's hands.

Prosecutors called this case a terrible horrific crime that was interrupted by another serious crime, the robbery of a maintenance man.

Eugene Davis testified he went to Jack's apartment because of a power outage next door and needed to get to the breaker box. That's when he said a gunman told him he walked in on something and demanded his cell phone.

Davis said he bolted when he saw blood stains on the bedroom carpet.

"It was his decision to take the stand and I don't think it hurt him," said Maddox's attorney, Keith Hurley. "Obviously we're disappointed in the result but we respect the judge's decision", said Hurley.

Jack's family, including his father, left the courthouse without comment. Maddox's attorney says he's pretty sure they'll appeal.

Maddox was convicted of first degree murder, robbery, abduction and use of firearm. He will be sentenced in June. He could face up to two life sentences.

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