Jury finds Padron guilty of first-degree murder in just 45 minutes

TAYLOR COUNTY—The three-day trial of murder suspect Nicholas Christopher Padron ended on Wednesday, and it only took the jury approximately 45 minutes to come to a unanimous decision in the matter.

After hearing from State witnesses including forensic scientists, the medical examiner, law enforcement officials and the family and friends of Michael Blackburn, the victim in the case, the court finally heard from Padron himself on Wednesday.

Called as the defense’s only witness, Padron took the stand to tell the jury, in his own words, what happened that fateful day in May 2020. Defense lawyer Scott Shough handled the questioning of the defendant, who was ultimately consumed by rage after an altercation with Blackburn.

He told the court that the deceased had “left a bad taste in his mouth” early on after he moved in with the defendant and his girlfriend, Blackburn’s daughter. Throughout his testimony, he recalled that the presence of the victim had only caused more strain on an already shaky relationship.

In what he called a power grab between himself and Blackburn, Padron felt like he was often undermined as a father, and that the victim and his daughter would make decisions without him having any say, issues that continued to bubble under the surface until May 29, 2020, when consumed by rage, Padron beat and then bludgeoned to death Blackburn before decapitating him.

During closing arguments, the defense summed up their case citing both a deteriorating relationship between Padron and his girlfriend, as well as one between the defendant and his victim, along with perceived threats made by Blackburn and an all-consuming, unadulterated rage that overcame Padron.

“Mr. Padron was an explosive, rage-filled individual who was not thinking, only acting,” Shough told the court. “He was essentially ‘seeing red.’ No thinking, rational, considerate, conscious person would consider cutting someone’s head off.”

He petitioned the jury to find Padron guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, because there was no malice or premeditation in his actions, saying that someone must be thinking to be evil, and Padron’s mind had been shut down when he became enraged.

Prosecutor John Bord however pointed to instances in the case that made the state believe there was both premeditation and malice, thus leaving the jury with only one option, murder in the first degree.

“Of course he had rage. I don’t think there has ever been a murder trial in the courtroom that didn’t involve rage,” Bord voiced. “Find him guilty of first-degree murder. You must choose justice for Taylor County, justice for Michael Blackburn and justice for that man right there (pointing at Padron)!”

However, after hearing from both sides, the jury was sent into deliberation. 45 minutes later, they presented their verdict to the court: guilty of murder in the first degree, having found his actions to be both premeditated and carried out with malice.

After finding Padron guilty, the jury was then tasked with deciding whether or not Padron would be shown mercy. If shown mercy, Padron would be eligible for parole in 15 years, but if the jury made the decision of no mercy, he would spend the rest of his life behind bars.

After being called back to the stand, Padron accosted the jury saying, “You all found me guilty, congratulations, you did a bang-up job… Mercy comes from the Lord, not people, and I’ve never known the white men to give mercy!”

After hearing from character witnesses, the jury deliberated. In a short amount of time, they had once again reached their decision: Padron would not be shown mercy.

“My dear people, it is pretty hard to put yourself in someone else’s predicament,” Padron addressed the court at sentencing. “I didn’t abuse anyone. I did kill Michael, but I did it to take care of my family.”

He ended by saying, “I appreciate you guys wasting the last few days, well not wasting, but doing your thing for society or whatnot. Thank you and have a good day.”

With that, Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Shawn D. Nines, finding Padron guilty of murder in the first degree with no mercy, sentence him to life in prison without the eligibility of parole.


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