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Jury deliberates in Maddox murder trial
Jun 06, 2011 | 1002 views | 1 1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By Kristin Holtz 

Charles Anthony “Tony” Maddox Jr. didn’t intend to kill his wife, but when she came at him with a knife, he had little choice, his attorney told the Scott County jury Monday.

“He did whatever he could with the material at hand. Instinct took over. Self-preservation took over,” defense attorney Fred Bruno said.

Scott County Assistant Attorney Neil Nelson claimed otherwise, saying Maddox’s actions were beyond reasonable force and his following actions were evidence of his attempts to cover-up the crime.

“Members of the jury, in this case, using reason and common sense, there is no doubt the defendant is guilty of murder in the second degree,” Nelson said.

Jurors heard closing arguments on Monday in the second-degree murder trial of Tony Maddox, who is accused of killing his wife, Ruth Anne Maddox, whose body was found in the couple’s Prior Lake townhome Nov. 12, 2008.  

Defense attorney Bruno told jurors the prosecution case hinges on two separate parts: what Tony did during Ruth Anne’s death and what happened later. While 90 percent of the prosecution’s case is the cover-up, none of those “red herrings” are on trial, he said.

“He is on trial for the thing that happened in a split second of time in a life of 48 years,” Bruno said.

Bruno told the court Tony never changed his account of what happened in the early hours of Nov. 11, 2008. From his police confession to conversations with his legal representation and family members to the jury, his story has always been consistent, Bruno said.

Tony came home after midnight Nov. 10 to find Ruth Anne upset about some boxes, according to Bruno. Instead of arguing with her, he went up to his bedroom with the couple’s two dogs and locked the door. She used a screwdriver to unlock the door and was standing at the threshold with a knife.

Tony kicked the door shut, busting the frame and sent Ruth Anne tumbling backward down the stairs, Bruno said. Unable to see her, Tony chucked the door down the stairs toward her but she got up with knife still in her hand. He came down after her, put his knee on her arm with the knife and choked her in which she instantaneously quit moving.

Bruno noted Tony had limited time to react when Ruth Anne brandished the knife. “He did what we are genetically programmed to do and he did what the law allows him to do,” Bruno said.

Prosecutor Nelson, however, had a different take, saying the extent of Ruth Anne’s injuries, her smaller body frame, Tony’s failure to contact police and his resulting actions indicate this wasn’t a case of self defense.

“The defendant didn’t do the normal thing [by calling 911] because there was no attack,” Nelson said. “This wasn’t self defense. This was an attempt to hide the truth.”

Nelson noted that during the search warrant execution, Tony referred to the knife by the sink three different times only once saying she came after him with a little pick. Not once did he direct officers to the body, bloody towels and bedroom door in the garage.

Following the death, Nelson argued that Tony was not under the daze or fog, the defense alleges, as he had the presence of mind to move the body, write a note of things to do and buy, drive around the metro purchasing items and dress up while leaving Ruth Anne’s car at the airport. Nelson even noted that Tony clipped a coupon at Walgreens to save $3 on a new razor.

“After the defendant killed Ruth Anne, he spent 26 hours trying to conceal and cover it up,” Nelson said.

While Tony said during cross-examination he didn’t know what he was going to do with the body, Nelson alleged otherwise, referencing two “horrifying” items on Tony’s list: kerosene and wood. “The defendant absolutely shows his intent to get rid of Ruth Anne’s body to cover up her death and not let anyone know he was responsible.”

Nelson said Tony exhibited purposeful, goal-driven behavior with “not one hint, not one action, not one gesture, not one symptom of remorse” until he was caught.

Bruno countered by saying that Tony did show remorse in a jailhouse telephone call to his mother the day he was arrested.

Nelson said the murder does not fit the elements of self-defense as Tony alleges Ruth Anne was holding the knife at her side and not even in the bedroom when he charged at her. He then came down the steps and continued to assault her, Nelson said.

“He charged her … he doesn’t even know if she has the knife. That’s not reasonable force,” Nelson said.

Nelson added that Tony’s testimony about pounding his fists doesn’t fit the blood spatter to which Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension forensics expert Lindsey Garfield testified.

Nelson and Bruno claim medical evidence backs up their explanations for Ruth Anne’s death.

Bruno reminded jurors medical examiner Dr. Lindsey Thomas had said the striations on Ruth Anne’s neck were consistent with the edge of the door and her head injuries could have occurred by tumbling down the stairs.

Nelson, however, said the angle of the stairwell would have made it nearly impossible for the door to strike Ruth Anne in the neck, causing the damage to her hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage and C6-C7 vertebrae, which led to her death.

Bruno portrayed Ruth Anne as a woman full of anger and resentment, who was planning to blackmail Tony by showing his family sex solicitation e-mails to get what she wanted in the divorce terms. While the prosecution’s witnesses spoke to past violence and Ruth Anne’s fear of Tony, none of that was known until after the divorce became public, he said. “People start taking sides [in a divorce],” Bruno said. “They start reversing history.”

The flaw in Ruth Anne’s plan was that Tony’s mother already knew about his online pornography problem and on Nov. 10 discovered “it was not the bomb she thought she was going to ignite.” When Tony failed to get upset to her blackmail, “the plan for her new life was dashed … [and] the bomb fizzled,” Bruno said.

Bruno said Tony had no motive for killing Ruth Anne. “What did he have to gain from this?” Bruno asked. “Absolutely nothing. What did he have to lose? Absolutely everything.”

Jury deliberates

The seven-men and five-woman on the jury began deliberations shortly after 12:30 p.m. The jury will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, the jury will also consider a first-degree charge of manslaughter, which carries a lesser sentence.

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Mollee Francisco
June 06, 2011
After brief deliberations, the jury found Maddox guilty of second-degree murder. Sentencing is scheduled for early August.

(Mollee Francisco is a staff writer for the Chaska Herald. She can be reached at
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