PARIS — A Hartford man, who beat his longtime girlfriend to death with metal rods while their young children were in the house, was convicted of murder Thursday.

The eight men and four women of the jury took less than 25 minutes to return the verdict shortly before noon at Oxford County Superior Court.

Rondon Athayde, 49, of Hartford, left, sits Thursday in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris on the final day of his murder trial. His attorney, Clifford Strike, is at right. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

The trial of Rondon Athayde, 49, involved two days of testimony that included Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Flomenbaum, who said Ana Cordeiro, 41, had suffered at least 43 blows from a metal rod.

After resting the state’s case against Athayde on Thursday morning, Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis showed the jury a photograph of Cordeiro before the morning of Dec. 13, 2018, followed by one after she was “pulverized” by her boyfriend at their 62 Bear Mountain Road home.

“This is what the defendant did to her over the course of that night,” Ellis said. That’s the result of his handiwork.”

Athayde’s beating lasted four hours, Ellis said.


She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Their 3- and 4-year-old daughters were in the house at the time of the killing. They were taken into protective custody with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Athayde had told police, “It’s my fault.”

He later said the couple had had a fight that night. But the only injury to him was a red mark on his shin where she had apparently kicked him, Ellis said.

He admitted to police using the two rods as weapons.

The chief medical examiner testified that Cordeiro had suffered chronic and acute physical abuse with extensive internal and external injuries, Ellis said, indicating beatings had happened before.


Cordiero’s official cause of death: old and new blunt impact injuries of all body segments.

No apparent motive was given for him becoming “enraged,” Ellis said.

But he told the jury that premeditation isn’t necessary to be guilty of murder.

“Intent can form in seconds,” he said.

If jurors were to convict Athayde, defense attorney Clifford Strike urged them to find his client guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; murder, 25 years to life in prison.


Strike said Athayde had called 911 twice after Cordeiro had lost consciousness and administered CPR for a prolonged period before rescue workers arrived.

Strike said Cordeiro had fallen off the couple’s bed, striking her head on a tile that caused her to lose so much blood and consciousness.

After resting his case at trial Thursday morning, Strike motioned for the judge to dismiss the murder charge for insufficient evidence, but Justice William Stokes denied that motion.

Strike had argued a motion aimed at suppressing Athyade’s self-incriminating statements to police, but that motion also was denied.

The couple were from Brazil. A Portuguese interpreter was at the defense table to assist Athayde during the trial.

Stokes scheduled the sentencing for the last week in August.

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