Trial begins in killing of Justin Eilers

by Kristin Rodine | source: idahostatesman.com
 

Trial begins in 2008 killing of Boise professional fighter
The defense says Nampa man was afraid when he shot his angry stepson on Christmas night.

James R. Malec appeared in January 2009 before Canyon County magistrate judge Gregory Frates. Malec has been charged with the second-degree murder of his 30-year-old stepson, mixed martial arts fighter Justin Mark Eilers of Boise.

The courtroom was silent, but Gwen Moore's words were barely audible Tuesday as she haltingly described the night her husband shot and killed her son while she stood nearby.

Her son, mixed martial arts fighter Justin Eilers, had been yelling and combative at a family gathering, breaking items and challenging Moore's husband, James Malec, she said. She tried to usher Eilers out of her Nampa kitchen and thought he was going to go outside and cool off.

"I thought it was over," Moore said. "I turned to the side, then I felt the shot go past my ear.

"I turned toward Jim and said, 'What did you do?'

"Justin had a surprised look on his face. He said, 'I'm dead, I'm dead. I love you, Mom."

When she looked back at her husband, she said, he was still pointing his semi-automatic, .45-caliber pistol at Justin - "and at me, because I was standing right there. ... He told me to get out of the way."

Moore was the first witness in her husband's second-degree murder trial Tuesday afternoon. Throughout her testimony, she did not look at Malec except when asked to identify him in the courtroom. Malec, 49, sat solemnly at the defense table, wearing a sport jacket and tie.

"Justin Eilers bled to death and died on the floor just outside his mother's kitchen," Deputy Canyon County Prosecutor David Christensen told the newly selected jury of six men and eight women (including two alternates). "He was shot in the chest, just right of center, and the bullet came out of his back and ended up in the wall of the other room."

The Christmas-night dispute began with an argument between Eilers and his ex-girlfriend about the upbringing of their 8-year-old son, and Eilers was still intensely angry when he returned to the kitchen where his mother and stepfather were cleaning up after dinner, Christensen said. Both Eilers and Malec had been drinking, Moore said.

The killing was intentional and without justification, Christensen said, telling the jury that Malec "used a degree of force that was in excess of what was reasonably necessary."

But defense attorney Gordon Petrie stressed the 30-year-old Eilers' size - 6 feet 2 inches and about 230 pounds - and prowess as a mixed martial arts fighter. Malec, who previously had gotten along well with his stepson, had never seen Eilers enraged before that night and was surprised and confused by the younger man's fury, he said.

Petrie said when Moore was trying to push Eilers out of the kitchen, Malec thought Eilers hit Moore - something Moore denies. Malec, a former military policeman and Canyon County jail deputy, was carrying his semi-automatic handgun at the time and reacted to what he saw as a threat to himself and his family.

"The evidence will show that Justin Eilers scared James Malec so much that he thought he was going to die. And he had a choice to make," Petrie said. "From his perspective, the only other choice was to become a sacrifice."

The prosecution's case against Malec is expected to conclude Wednesday, at which point the defense will be able to present witnesses.

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Recent Comments »

Herring In A Fur Coat site profile image  

9/15/09 11:17 AM by Herring In A Fur Coat

 Not till October.

DJStudd site profile image  

9/15/09 9:40 AM by DJStudd

ttt

DJStudd site profile image  

9/7/09 2:48 PM by DJStudd

tttany news on a sentence ?

K-Dub-  

9/4/09 5:45 AM by K-Dub-"T"

 The guy deserves to be beheaded.

promoter site profile image  

9/4/09 5:15 AM by promoter

The two have a history of dislike for each other. They had been drinking awhile when Malec went to his bedroom and put on and concealed the loaded gun.He then tried to break up an argument going on between Justin and his ex-girlfriend, which started it all off. My thought is he hoped Justin would get pissed and come at him. But all he did was yell and break dishes. According to Justin's mom, he was backing up toward the door.When Malec saw his opportunity slipping away, he shot and killed him.I'm glad the jury didn't buy the self-defense claim. This guy deserves to be punished.

Herring In A Fur Coat site profile image  

9/4/09 1:42 AM by Herring In A Fur Coat

The angle is obvious IMO.  From that last article it's pretty clear what picture the defense is trying to paint: An old man is threatened in his own home by a drunk & belligirent heavyweight prize fighter - a man who is extremely capable of inflicting great injury and even death with his bare hands.  If the jury deems that a reasonable man in Malec's position would have been in fear for his life, then the homicide is justifiable. The fact that Malec mentioned shooting Eilers in the past contradicts that picture, as it could be considered premediation.  However there is no mention of this in the recent article, and with a second degree charge the prosecution does not need to show premeditation, so it may have not even been brought up in the testimony.

brdrchoker site profile image  

9/3/09 7:21 PM by brdrchoker

 if you shoot someone you always shoot to kill....better tried by twelve than carried by six.

HULKSMASH site profile image  

9/3/09 7:17 PM by HULKSMASH

Yep!

Archangel site profile image  

9/3/09 7:16 PM by Archangel

Definitely could happen that way. Funny I didn't even pay attention to the actual charge I just figured they would charge him with first degree with the allegation of pre med. Probably more work then they care to take on. Fuckers usually like to plea bargain their way into office...lolSeems as though I remember his attorney retired from judgeship and took the case. I thought that was interesting and that he must have an angle to win but I don't see it at this point.I also knew a guy who killed his wifes lover. He walked in on them and shot the dude dead. Crime of Passion he got a six month rider and 1 year probation just to make sure he was sane..lol

Herring In A Fur Coat site profile image  

9/3/09 6:59 PM by Herring In A Fur Coat

He's charged with 2nd degree, 10 to life.  Unless he has priors he'll most likely get the minimun if convicted, gets paroled in 4-6 tops (pure speculation of course). Leaving then coming back with a gun = premeditation.  Very hard to prove premeditation in this particular case.