El Paso man found guilty in fatal 2016 drug deal shooting

Crime

A jury found an El Paso man guilty in the shooting death of a 20-year-old during a drug deal in 2016.

Marcelo Mailland was on trial for capital murder in connection with the slaying of Christian Jorjorian on Aug. 15, 2016, at a West El Paso park.

Prosecutors said that Mailland, 18 at the time, along with Marco Nava, 17 at the time, killed Christian Jorjorian, 20, during a drug deal where they intended to rob him at gunpoint.

On Friday morning, jurors heard closing arguments from both sides.

Assistant District Attorney James Montoya played several clips for the jury showing Mailland’s story changing as he was interviewed by detectives. Montoya portrayed the defendant as a “serial liar.”

“He is smart, very smart,” Montoya told jurors. “He is so smart he believes he can out-maneuver the police.”

Defense lawyer Mary Stillinger argued that a video confession that Maillard gave in 2016 was coerced. She said the 18-year-old was running on only a few hours of sleep and after being accused of the crime, repeatedly, he tried to tell detectives what he believed they wanted to hear.

“They didn’t threaten his life, but they did say you’re life is at risk. You know what that means when he is facing capital murder,” Stillinger said. “It is very clear to me they had their minds made up and they thought they had their guy.”

Stillinger said the worst thing Mailland did was hide a potential murder weapon, but that does not equate that he was present for a murder. She also questioned why detectives and prosecutors did not pursue dozens of more leads in the case and said they lacked a motive.

“Marcelo Mailland had no motive to steal. No motive to rob and no motive to kill,” Stillinger said. “Is a Cathedral High School graduate, heading off to college, going to have the need to rob a drug dealer?” 

 Montoya almost agreed, and that is what made the alleged murder so heinous. 

“When you think about it, why did they go to rob him?” he rhetorically asked. “It’s not because they didn’t have the money, they worked. They did it just because they could. … The thrill of committing a robbery. That’s why they did it.”

Earlier in the trial, Montoya told jurors they did not know who shot Jorjorian, Mailland or Nava. But since one of them killed him in a collective effort to rob him, they can both be charged with capital murder.

Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Stay with KTSM.com for updates.

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