Hike sentence

Maine’s highest court upholds Hartford man’s murder conviction and 50-year sentence

PARIS — Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court has dismissed Rondon Athayde’s claims that the Oxford County Superior Court erred in his trial last year for the brutal murder of his longtime Hartford girlfriend. in 2018.

His conviction for the murder of Ana Cordero, 41, was upheld, as was the 50-year prison sentence handed down in August last year.

Athayde, 50, of Hartford, appealed to the court in May, saying the Oxford County Court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements he made to law enforcement when they had accompanied him home after reporting Cordero’s death. He claimed the court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal “because a jury could not reasonably conclude that his conduct was sufficient to cause the death of the victim”. He also claimed the court “abused its sentencing power by considering the history of domestic violence between Athayde and the victim to determine his base sentence”.

When Judge William Stokes handed down the 50-year sentence, he called the ‘brutal’ and ‘extraordinarily violent’ domestic violence assault an ‘abomination’, adding that the images of Cordero and the crime scene ‘are stayed with me for several weeks.

Rondon Athayde enters Oxford County Superior Court in Paris on August 31, 2021, when he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the “brutal” murder of his longtime girlfriend in Hartford in 2018. File photo by Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

Stokes said it was clear to him from the evidence presented at trial that this was not the first time Cordero had been physically assaulted by Athayde.

Maine’s chief medical examiner testified at trial that Athayde had beaten Cordero at least 43 times with metal rods and a wooden coat hanger at their home at 62 Bear Mountain Road and that – after losing about two-thirds of her blood from internal and external hemorrhage – she died of these injuries.

The couple had moved to Maine from Brazil. According to court records, Athayde referred to Cordero as a wife, but the two were not legally married.

The couple’s 3- and 4-year-old daughters were at home at the time of Cordero’s beating, investigators determined.

According to court records, Athayde called 911 from his home just after midnight on December 13, 2018, and police arrived around 1 a.m. Athayde was taken into custody and taken to Oxford Police Department, where two detectives questioned him from 4.13am. a m

Detectives read Athayde his rights, after which Athayde repeated his understanding of the warning, signed a waiver of his rights, and agreed to recorded interviews.

Late in the afternoon, the police took Athayde home, repeated Miranda’s warning, and continued to question and tape him for another 90 minutes while walking through the house. The police repeatedly asked him if he needed a break, food, or rest because he hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours, and he refused.

Before his trial began, Athayde had filed a motion to have the interviews suppressed, but the Oxford County Court denied that motion, finding that the statements he gave to police during the visit were made voluntarily. .

Reviewing the lower court records, including the recorded statements, the Court of Justice concluded that this was a “closed case” by labeling the statements voluntary. The court took into account the length of the police interrogations and the way he was treated during the period when he gave multiple statements.

“Athayde was handcuffed and taken into custody around 1 a.m. on December 13. Police detectives questioned him beginning at 4:13 a.m., with a short break to take his fingerprints, followed by continued questioning until 12:04 p.m., and the resumption of questioning during the visit of 90 minutes, which began after 4 p.m.,” all without sleep, according to the court’s written decision, released Tuesday.

During these interviews, Athayde was sometimes very emotional, “as evidenced by the fact that he was praying, feeling sick and saying he wanted to die”.

On the other hand, the court found that the police exerted no pressure beyond taking him into custody and “interacting with him so that he could speak as he wished. Detectives specifically asked him several times while in police custody if he wanted to quit. They offered him food and drink. They attempted to end the interview at one point, but when Athayde continued talking, they just continued the conversation,” according to court records.

The court found that although Athayde was clearly in emotional distress, it “did not interfere with his ability to remember what had happened or to talk about the free choice of a rational mind” and there was no was no evidence that he had been coerced by the police. misconduct.

During the three-day trial in June 2021, the state presented the video recording of the visit as evidence, but not the recordings of the interviews conducted at the police station.

When the state closed his case, Athayde did not testify and his attorney did not call anyone to testify in his defense.

Two months later, Athayde received a basic sentence of 45 years in prison based on the court’s finding of serious and repeated domestic violence, and even though the court found that Athayde cooperated with investigators and did not had no previous criminal convictions, the fact that the couple girls were at home and heard or saw some of what happened, and “the victim’s conscious pain and suffering during the hours of abuse” which led to his death, an additional five years were added to this base sentence.

In his appeal, Athayde claimed the Oxford County Court erred in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal after the state closed its case because it failed to prove that a jury rational could have found him guilty. The Court of Justice disagreed, finding that the lower court had correctly dismissed the motion for a judgment of acquittal because, on the basis of the evidence, a jury could “rationally conclude that Athayde, by severely beating the victim on December 12 and 13, inflicted new injuries and aggravated existing injuries, causing fatal blood loss.

Athayde also argued that the trial court erred because it failed to tell the jury that the victim had other medical conditions and because there was insufficient evidence that Athayde had inflicted the older injuries that led to the victim’s death.

The Court of Justice disagreed, holding that the jury instruction was valid.

And, finally, Athayde claimed in his appeal that the Oxford County Court should not have considered prior domestic violence in determining the seriousness of the murder charge and that he abused his power to conviction.

The Court of Justice disagreed, finding that consideration of domestic violence in sentencing was appropriate in the case.

Athayde is serving his sentence at Maine State Prison in Warren. The earliest date he will be eligible for release is February 3, 2062.

Athayde was represented by Portland attorney Clifford Strike at the murder trial; he was represented by Rory A. McNamara, a York attorney, on the appeal.

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