A 34-year-old man bludgeoned and stabbed his childhood friend and then cut himself to cover up the killing and blame it on the victim, according to a prosecutor’s argument to jurors, while the defendant’s attorney said his client acted in self-defense.
Augustine Brady Godoy is charged with murder, with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon, for the July 14, 2015, killing of 27-year-old Kamal Malouf.
“This is a story of ultimate betrayal,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Elisabeth Hatcher told jurors Wednesday. “The victim and defendant were childhood friends and the defendant killed his best friend.”
Malouf, who lived with his parents in Anaheim, took Godoy in when the defendant got kicked out of his parents’ home, Hatcher said, telling jurors that the victim “was the last person still willing to help” the defendant. Malouf convinced his parents to take Godoy in so “he wouldn’t be living out of his car,” the prosecutor said, noting that they were out of town on the day of their son’s death.
The longtime friends had gotten into a heated argument over the phone when Godoy asked to use the Malouf family’s car, she said. The prosecutor noted that Godoy was convicted of driving under the influence in 2013 and was equipped with a device preventing it from being driven by anyone under the influence of alcohol.
A co-worker of the victim’s heard him say, “Are you drunk?” Hatcher said. “And Kamal said, `Put the bottle down. No, you can’t drive my car. You’ve got to get your life together.”’
Hatcher played a 911 call Godoy made to report he got into a fight with his roommate.
An autopsy showed Malouf died from multiple blows to his head, she said.
“His skull was basically crushed,” Hatcher said. “He had a stab wound under his eye that was one in three quarters inches deep.”
Godoy “killed his childhood friend in a violent, one-sided attack and he intended to kill Kamal with multiple weapons such as a liquor bottle and knives to stab and beat him repeatedly,” Hatcher said.
“After the crime the defendant cut his own arm — he almost severed it in an attempt to make it appear his last friend, his only friend still willing to help him … was the one who attacked (the defendant) and he dripped blood from his own arm in multiple areas of the crime scene to make it appear he was injured by Kamal and that they had fought,” she alleged.
Police found blood throughout the house except for the victim’s bedroom, according to Hatcher, who said Godoy did not call 911 immediately and took a shower before police arrived.
Godoy’s attorney, Jacob DeGrave of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, said his client “was scared and acted in self-defense. The evidence is going to show Kamal Malouf drew a knife, shoved (Godoy) and threatened him, and when Mr. Malouf swung that knife, Mr. Godoy shoved him and pushed him away.”
Then, “Mr. Malouf came back at Mr. Godoy, knife in hand,” DeGrave said. “Mr. Godoy hit him. He hit him to stop him and to get him to drop the knife. Clearly, this case is a tragedy all the way around.”
The two had known each other since they were 10, DeGrave said.
“Even their sisters were best friends until this happened,” he said.
But their lives took different paths, DeGrave said. Malouf graduated from UC Irvine and had an office job, but Godoy’s plans to be a firefighter were derailed by a “major car accident in 2009,” he said.
“He suffered head trauma and was in a coma and was hospitalized,” DeGrave said. “You will hear that things changed for him after that. After the accident, Brady became depressed, irritable, more impulsive, and he drank more.”
The injury affected his “ability to tolerate frustration,” DeGrave said.
Godoy was home the day of the killing and had been drinking, DeGrave said. The victim was angry when he came home and found his roommate drunk, the defense attorney said.
“When this fight happened it was fast, it was a blur,” DeGrave said. “After things slowed down, Mr. Godoy saw his friend and realized what had happened. He realized he had hurt his friend severely. You will hear Mr. Godoy was stricken with grief so much that in the kitchen he tried to take his own life and you will hear he did it in a gruesome way. He cut his arm deeply. He cut his arm almost off.”
DeGrave said, “There is no dispute Mr. Godoy killed Mr. Malouf. But Brady’s mental state will be a main issue in this case. You’re going to have to decide whether the prosecutor has proven the charge beyond a reasonable doubt or whether other charges are more appropriate.”