TUCSON — The opening brief in an appeal of the murder conviction of a 20-year-old San Tan Valley man is scheduled to be filed Thursday.

Arizona’s Court of Appeals was presented a notice of appeal of the conviction of Nathaniel Maldonado on April 1, just 15 days after he was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of 20-year-old Tyran Simmons. He was also sentenced on March 15 to served 7.5 years for attempted armed robbery to run concurrently with the life sentence.

Maldonado was found guilty of murder Dec. 15 for Simmons’ death in May 2017.

Prosecutor Patrick Johnson said the defendant considered the life of Simmons to be “cheap” when he shot him multiple times in a San Tan Valley neighborhood.

According to the state’s theory, Simmons attempted to fight back after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds. He and Maldonado got into a scuffle and the defendant started hitting Simmons over the head.

Maldonado, who was just 17 at the time of the murder, fled the scene and jumped in a car driven by 16-year-old Gloria Alvarez, who testified against Maldonado during the trial.

She signed a plea deal and was sentenced to serve 10.5 years. She testified against Maldonado at his trial.

A bloody shirt found in his home had the victim’s DNA, and Maldonado’s hand had traces of gunshot residue.

A jailhouse phone call was played for the jury that captured Maldonado discussing the crime, which he claimed was committed in self-defense.

In the appeals case, a motion to extend the deadline for filing the opening brief was filed in the appellate court on July 25. That opening brief is due to be filed Thursday by Maldonado’s attorney Harriette Levitt.

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