Death penalty sought in man's slaying

COVINGTON -- Newton County District Attorney Ken Wynne announced he will seek the death penalty against 22-year-old Pablo Fernando Maldonado in connection with the murder of landscaper Timothy Clements in mid-June.

Also arrested in connection with the death were Christian Caldwell, 17, and Brittney Beasley, 18, both of Lithonia, and a 16-year-old female juvenile.

"I will only be seeking the death penalty against Mr. Maldonado. He is of an age where the laws allow the death penalty to be sought," Wynne said. "Only one other codefendant is old enough to be eligible."

Clements' body was found by two fisherman in Snapping Shoals Creek on Ga. Highway 212 on June 12. He was last seen at 6 a.m. on June 11, when he left his Rockdale County home to work on a landscaping project in Newton County. His family had filed a missing persons report with the Newton County Sheriff's Office Friday morning when he failed to return from work.

According to information released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the time of the murder, robbery is believed to have been the motive. GBI spokesman John Bankhead said Maldonado worked for Clements and Brittney Beasley was apparently Maldonado's girlfriend.

Wynne did not give specifics on why he decided to seek the death penalty against Maldonado and not the other three defendants.

"I based my decision to seek the death penalty only against Mr. Maldonado on several factors, including the evidence in the case. I do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment beyond that," Wynne said.

Maldonado is currently represented by Alcovy Circuit Public Defender Anthony Carter, and Wynne said his office is waiting for the Office of the Capital Defender to assign an attorney to represent Maldonado.

Wynne said the prosecution of the case had just begun.

"No significant motions have been filed yet," Wynne said. "We are still in the discovery stage as to the three codefendants."