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New Details Emerge in Justin Eilers Homicide

(James Malec’s booking photo, courtesy of

Sherdog has a new update on last Friday’s report about the Christmas night shooting death of UFC/WEC/EliteXC vet Justin Eilers in Canyon County, Idaho. Here’s what we know now:

— Eilers was indeed shot by his stepfather, James Robert Malec, at a house owned by Malec and Eilers’s mother. Malec used a large caliber handgun to fire a single shot which punctured Eilers’s lung before exiting his back.

— Following an argument between Eilers and his girlfriend (the mother of his son), which culminated in his girlfriend leaving the house, Eilers reportedly got into a confrontation with Malec, and began "verbally challenging" him. Eilers apparently broke some glasses and other items, was asked to leave, but refused.

— Eilers’s son was in the house at the time of the shooting, but did not actually witness it, contrary to initial reports. Eilers’s girlfriend returned to the house shortly after the shooting and, along with Eilers’s mother (who did witness the shooting), attempted to apply pressure to the wound until paramedics arrived.

— Canyon County sheriffs arrived at the scene at approximately 11 p.m. MST, but paramedics didn’t arrive until 15 minutes later. Eilers was pronounced dead on the scene at 11:36 p.m., after EMTs could not revive him with CPR.

— Both Eilers and Malec were reportedly intoxicated at the time of the shooting. "This is a good example of how, in many instances, firearms and alcohol don’t mix," said Captain Dana Maxfield of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Department. [Ed. note: Can we just go ahead and say that they never mix? Is that too much to ask, Captain?]

— Malec was arrested for second-degree murder, and is being held at the Canyon County Jail on $1,000,000 bond. Ironically, Malec previously worked at the Canyon County detention center as a deputy sheriff from 1996-2000, and was also a canine handler.

— A viewing for family and friends will be held on Thursday from 2-6 p.m. at the Alsip Funeral Home in South Nampa, Idaho. Funeral services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at The Church Of Latter Day Saints, also in Nampa. Eilers’s friend and Miletich teammate Jens Pulver will be hosting a benefit fundraiser in Boise, Idaho, on Friday night to raise money for the newly created Tyson Eilers Foundation (named for Justin’s son). For more information, go to

Cagepotato Comments

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Tyler- January 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm
He sure looks like a model citizen.
Gob- January 1, 2009 at 8:01 pm
So........whats next??......Gilbert Aldana vs Justin Eilers???......
PotatoHead- January 1, 2009 at 9:29 am
I think some of you guys are being way too harsh on Malec and a lot of it has to do with that uglier-than-sin puss of his.

Be honest, my fellow degenerates, would you feel differently if he possessed the boyish charm and good looks of say... ohhhh, I dunno... an Anderson Cooper... and looked less like a genetic experiment gone awry?

Truth be told, if I felt physically threatened by a drunken professional MMA heavyweight, in my own damn doublewide... well, Gob gave us a trigger finger for a reason. Nuff said.

aly- January 1, 2009 at 5:57 am
that's frigin hilarious, i didn't even realize that until you pointed it out, good call
KTFO- January 1, 2009 at 12:39 am
Why couldn't he shoot Tito instead?
strongerthanfriction- December 31, 2008 at 12:24 pm
Yes, that was sarcasm, and yes cr_trinity is a jack-assed fool. The day the citizens of the USA are disarmed is the day the sun goes out.

However, I think Malec is going to prison for a long time (and rightly so) unless some very important details have been with held from all reports I've seen.
Blaphtome- December 31, 2008 at 12:00 pm
Amb also with youb.
bold- December 31, 2008 at 10:39 am
James Malec's i hope this guy burns
bold- December 31, 2008 at 10:35 am
well said all he was doing was smashing plates and making drunken noises? unless those were 1000$ plates thats no reason in my books to shoot someone
Mac mac- December 31, 2008 at 10:18 am
@strongerthanfriction you were being sarcastic right? and cr_trinity is an asshole!!!

I believe the charges will be dropped but without more evidence who knows.......
J-Dog- December 31, 2008 at 6:16 am
I'm with Scrambled Eggs... we don't know all the details, but a pro MMA fighter can be absolutely deadly even unarmed. It could have been legitimate self defense on the stepfather's part. Still a very sad situation and no less of a tragedy..... but maybe stepfather was in fear for his life and thought it would be better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.
Fuckin' Dude- December 30, 2008 at 9:07 pm
Yeah, gob is a powerful man. Maybe you should fuckin' read before you post. Perhaps you should go back to fuckin' bible school or something!!! STUPID FUCKIN' HOMO!!!
Guns Don't Kill People- December 30, 2008 at 7:32 pm
Blame the guns STRONGERTHANFICTION, just because one drunk scumbag asshole gunowner shoots somebody means we should get rid of the 2nd Amendment......Ignorance is Bliss isn't it?

Anyway, its a shitty situation for the surviving members of his family especially for the boy that may have heard it all go down.
Scrambled Eggs- December 30, 2008 at 5:14 pm
Reading about this story makes me wonder how many fighters have serious family and/or mental issues in their background that led them to get into fighting in the first place.

Just quickly off the top of my head I can think of Eilers, Rampage, Chris Leben, the Diaz brothers, that Junie guy from TUF8, GSP, Ricco Rodriguez. There must be more.
Gunny- December 30, 2008 at 4:08 pm
Nah, usually you just have to prove that you were in grave danger or under the threat of serious bodily harm. Seems like a UFC fighter would give you that impression, especially a Heavy Weight.
Scrambled Eggs- December 30, 2008 at 3:03 pm
How does American law work? If you're being threatened by a drunk who's also a professional fighter, is that grounds for self defense? Obviously we don't have all the details, but does he have to actually hit you first?
DDT- December 30, 2008 at 2:17 pm
"Can we just go ahead and say that they never mix?"

What do you mean they Alcohol ad guns never mix. Where are you supposed to get more beer bottles to shoot when you run out of beer bottles to shoot?
P- December 30, 2008 at 1:57 pm
I'm 3 hours from Boise, I plan on donating to the cause, thanx Jen, I had the chance to meet Eilers once and seen him fight live twice. I feel bad for the little boy.
10pound- December 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm
He should have tapped.............
MKXii- December 30, 2008 at 1:36 pm
Too soon 10pound too
strongerthanfriction- December 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm
Thank Gob, once the GATT concludes in 2010 and the North American Union forms afterward that will save us all from the so-called "Republic" of the USA and these horrible guns! Then nothing like this will happen ever again! ... ... ...




Oh... oh my, ahhhh, that's still hilarious ... sorry, cr_trinity, you are an idiot of the highest magnitude.
MKXii- December 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm
"Malec was arrested for second-degree murder, and is being held at the Canyon County Jail on $1,000,000 bond. Ironically, Malec previously worked at the Canyon County detention center as a deputy sheriff from 1996-2000, and was also a canine handler."

A former cop vs a drunken MMA fighter...aka acquitted.
ChucksRetirementParty- December 30, 2008 at 12:45 pm
Sadly, you're 100% correct. What's supposed to be one of the happiest days of a child's life will now be this childs saddest.
emo sux- December 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm
MMA-related or not, from a humanistic standpoint, this is a sad moment. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends involved. especially tyson who will for the rest of his life corolate christmas with the murder of his father... no kid deserves that
Jay Smith- December 30, 2008 at 12:38 pm
Gob be with them, and us all.