After more than two weeks of testimony, Anthony Gregory Mallory’s fate is now in the hands of a jury.
Jurors received the murder case against Mallory, 21, late Tuesday afternoon after attorneys made their closing arguments in Yakima County Superior Court. They are expected to begin deliberations Wednesday morning.
Mallory is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Michael G. Ochoa, 55, in August 2018 outside a house in the 1100 block of MacLaren Street. Jurors were also given the option to find Mallory guilty of either first- or second-degree manslaughter.
For Mallory, it was the second time his case has been presented to a jury. A trial earlier this year ended March 9 when Judge Gayle Harthcock declared a mistrial after finding that a juror had defied court orders by visiting the crime scene and discussing what was observed with fellow jurors during deliberations.
Both sides agreed that Mallory stabbed Ochoa in the neck Aug. 21, 2018, causing a 2-inch-deep wound that would take Ochoa’s life three days later at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. But jurors will have to decide if the attack was unprovoked, as prosecutors argue, or if Mallory acted in self-defense as his attorney alleges.
Ochoa was in the neighborhood looking for a trailer he loaned to a family who was moving out at the time of the incident, according to prosecutors. Ochoa’s girlfriend and neighbors testified that they saw Mallory strike Ochoa in the neck, and Ochoa collapsed immediately afterward, Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Chen reminded jurors.
The only interaction between Mallory and Ochoa immediately before the attack was when Ochoa asked Mallory if he knew about the trailer he lent out, and Mallory said “That was stupid of you” before stabbing him, as Ochoa’s girlfriend testified, Chen said. He said other witnesses said Ochoa did not appear angry about the missing trailer.
Chen also pointed out inconsistencies between Mallory’s testimony at his first trial and on Monday, when he again took the stand. He said Mallory’s claim that Ochoa’s fists were clenched, Ochoa blocking him from leaving and saying he was “going to end him” were not in his original testimony.
“The defendant’s recollection of events is selective,” Chen said. “He can remember certain things, but not things that reflect badly on him.”
He said that Mallory’s mother and brother, who also testified, could not remember certain facts, such as Mallory mentioning the trailer, until it suited them. Chen pointed out that Mallory’s mother also said in court that she would do anything for her son.
Ken Therrien, Mallory’s attorney, accused Chen and detectives about being selective with the facts that they presented in the case. Among the things Therrien classified as omissions were not producing the 911 recordings from that day, having the people who had the trailer to testify or having Mallory’s former martial-arts instructor talk about Mallory’s degree of training.
He also said that under state’s “stand your ground” law, Mallory was not required to leave the area. Mallory, Therrien said, could respond to a perceived threat if he reasonably believed he was in danger, even if that belief was proven incorrect later, as Mallory had only seconds to decide what to do.
Chen reminded jurors that Ochoa’s autopsy did not find any defensive wounds on his body, showing that he never raised his hands toward Mallory during the incident. He noted that Mallory only said that Ochoa made verbal threats to him, which is not a reasonable justification to kill someone.
Mallory, Chen said, took a circuitous route from the crime scene instead of running straight back to his home, and later disposed of the knife he used, which he said were signs of guilt.
But Therrien said those actions, including not calling the police afterward, were the actions of an 18-year-old trying to process what had just happened.
Chen reminded jurors that 18-year-olds are mature enough to serve in the military and as police officers.