A former paralegal convicted of killing and then dismembering a gang member who walked into his Fresno apartment in 2008 screamed, shouted expletives and laughed out loud Thursday as a judge sentenced him to 28 years to life in prison.

In a tightly guarded Fresno County Superior Courtroom, Brian Waldron, 55, essentially went ballistic during his sentencing hearing, telling his attorneys they did a lousy job and interrupting the judge throughout the proceeding, the Fresno Bee reported.

Waldron had insisted that he killed 21-year-old Jonathan Taylor in self-defense after the gang member walked into his apartment drunk on Oct. 24, 2008, and refused to leave. But a jury disagreed, convicting him of first-degree murder and mutilation of a corpse, according to the Bee.

One of Waldron's attorneys, James Lambe, had argued in court that his client had a right to fear for his life given that Taylor had gang tattoos and was dressed like a gang member. Waldron had also reportedly told police that Taylor had instigated a physical fight.

But prosecutors told jurors that Waldron locked his front door right before he used a metal pipe to fatally strike Taylor with such force that his ceiling was splattered with blood. Waldron then dragged Taylor's body to a bathtub, where he used a tree saw to dismember it, the Bee reported.

Prosecutors also noted that Waldron used charcoal on the remains to mask their smell before buring them in a shallow grave near a reservoir.

Lambe, one of the defense attorneys, told the Bee afterward that the sentencing was a sad ending for a man who had succumbed to mental illness.

"Though his illness didn't rise to the legal definition of insanity, it's upsetting to see someone get unhinged," Lambe said.

jason.wells@latimes.com

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