Medema Murder Case Now In Jurors’ Hands

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Antonio Livingston

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Antonio Livingston was motionless and attentive as he listened to the closing arguments of his trial; not even flinching while his credibility and character were attacked by the prosecution.

“(Livingston’s) story changes repeatedly, (one) detective … estimated 25 different versions, 26 if you count the one he gives in court.”

Livingston finished up his testimony Friday morning.  The defense says he was simply a by-stander during the murder of Robert “Bob” Medema – a well-known antiques dealer – and that the crime was the brain-child of his co-defendant John Aguilar.

Livingston testified that he did, in fact, enter Robert Medema’s home through a broken window the night the 74-year-old was killed, but only because Aguilar told him they had permission to be inside.

The prosecuting attorney argued that Livingston knew Aguilar planned to rob the elderly man who was known to carry a lot of cash.   In fact, another witness Elizabeth Summers testified that she called Livingston to tell the duo when Medema left the yard sale she was working at and was headed home.

The prosecution says instead of leaving the home, the two men waited for Medema.

“Antonio (Livingston) was not in the wrong at place, at the wrong time, with the wrong person,” the prosecutor told the jury, “Bob Medema was.”

But the defense paints a picture of Livingston as a follower, easily coaxed into doing things he really doesn’t want to do.  His attorney pointed out that the majority of the physical evidence found near the scene belonged to Livingston – and that’s just the way Aguilar planned it.  She added that Aguilar’s clothing was never found.

“He followed the directions of John Aguilar, and he threw his items out (of the truck), things that would directly link him to this crime,” the defense told the jury.

Detectives say Livingston’s blood-stained shoes were found near Medema’s home, along with clothing items and a ski mask.

“Why was he wearing a ski mask in August, if he wasn’t going to commit a crime?” the prosecution asked.  “(Livingston) admits seeing Aguilar with a screwdriver, a hammer, duct tape, rope, and a bat, but he says he did not know … a crime would be committed.”

The defense maintained their argument that Livingston was merely a witness to a terrible crime – an argument between Medema and Aguilar over money that escalated.

The prosecuting attorney says it didn’t stop there.

“They hit him over and over and over and if their intention was to rob (him), why keep striking him again and again and again?”

Last August, Medema was found dead in his home, bound by an electrical cord.  Detectives say he was beaten over the head with a baseball bat that was recovered from the scene.  Medema owned The Emporium, an antiques shop in downtown Kalamazoo, for decades.

“Antonio (Livingston) witnessed (the murder),” the defense attorney told the jury,  “He didn’t assist in it, he didn’t encourage it, he didn’t say, ‘let’s kill this guy now that we have his money,’  he was merely present.”

But the prosecution fired back saying that’s still premeditated murder, because Livingston didn’t do anything to stop the deadly attack either.

“(Livingston) didn’t just see what was happening in that kitchen and run away, he walked around enough to pick up blood on his shoes,” the prosecution said.

In her last words to the jury, the defense attorney asked the group to remove the sympathy from their verdict and find her client not guilty.

“Do not convict Antonio Livingston because somebody needs to go down for John Aguilar’s actions,” she pleaded.  “(Aguilar) will have his day. This is not his day.”

Livingston is charged with premeditated murder, felony murder, assault with intent to rob, and home invasion.  If convicted, he could face life in prison.

The jury deliberated for a couple hours on Friday, but did not come to a verdict.  Deliberations are expected to continue on Tuesday morning.

The other suspect involved in the murder, John Aguilar, will be tried at a later date.

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