A 34-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 16 years to life behind bars for killing his childhood friend in Anaheim nearly six years ago.
Augustine Brady Godoy was convicted May 11 of second-degree murder, and jurors found true a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon for the July 14, 2015, death of 27-year-old Kamal Malouf.
“This is a story of ultimate betrayal,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Elisabeth Hatcher told jurors. “The victim and defendant were childhood friends and the defendant killed his best friend.”
In her closing argument, Hatcher said “second-degree murder is the minimum crime here,” while arguing for a first-degree murder conviction, telling the panel that Godoy intentionally clubbed the victim with a glass bottle.
An autopsy showed Malouf died from multiple blows to his head, she said.
“His skull was basically crushed,” the prosecutor said. “He had a stab wound under his eye that was one and three quarters inches deep.”
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, who played the 911 call Godoy made to report he got into a fight with his roommate, told the panel that he “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.”
She said the defendant attempted to cover up his crime by cutting “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.”
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.
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,” he said. “Mr. Malouf came back at Mr. Godoy, knife in hand. 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, but their lives took different paths. 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,” DeGrave said.
“He suffered head trauma and was in a coma and was hospitalized,” the defense attorney 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. 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 almost off.”
Godoy testified that he took a shower after the killing because “I was experiencing chills… to warm myself up” and said he did not recall dialing 911. Godoy testified that he didn’t just walk away from the dispute because the victim was in his way wielding a knife.