PHOENIX, AZ (May 17, 2013) – Marcos Rene Mendoza (D.O.B. 6/12/1986) is looking at a possible 27-year prison sentence for an argument over personal property that escalated to a fatal shooting. Maricopa County jurors found Mendoza guilty of 2nd Degree Murder and Criminal Trespass, which carry maximum prison terms of 22 years and 5.75 years respectively. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19, 2013 by the Honorable Robert Gottsfield.
“Thanks to diligent police work and the cooperation of witnesses who came forward and did the right thing, we were able to hold this violent criminal accountable for his actions,” remarked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We now look forward to the imposition of a just sentence that will keep this repeat offender off of our streets for an appropriately long period of time.”
At around 2:30 p.m. on April 1, 2012, Phoenix Police responded to a 911 call about a shooting at a convenience store in the 1900 block of East Roosevelt Street. Upon arrival, they found Manuel Chavarria in the parking lot with several gunshot wounds. He was transported to Maricopa County Hospital and later pronounced dead. Witnesses told police that shortly before the shooting, Marcos Mendoza and three other individuals had gone to the apartment of Chavarria’s girlfriend, Sabrina Martinez, to retrieve a pair of Air Jordan athletic shoes which Sabrina had removed from Mendoza’s vehicle earlier that morning. She originally refused to hand over the shoes because Mendoza was in possession of her purse and cell phone which she had left in his vehicle a week earlier. After Mendoza agreed to retrieve and return her belongings, she gave him the shoes and he left with the three other subjects.
Afterwards, as Mendoza was driving westbound on Roosevelt Street with the three subjects, Chavarria drove past him and motioned for him to pull into the convenience store parking lot. According to witnesses and surveillance video from the store, Chavarria exited his vehicle, approached the driver’s window of Mendoza’s vehicle and had a verbal confrontation with him. Roughly a minute later Chavarria walked away, apparently agitated. He then approached Mendoza’s vehicle again and was shot multiple times by Mendoza who remained seated in the driver’s seat. Chavarria was unarmed. The three passengers in Mendoza’s car exited the vehicle and two of them fled; one remained and performed CPR on Chavarria. Mendoza then drove out of the parking lot and fled the area.
Mendoza’s vehicle was later found at a housing complex near the crime scene. A shell casing matching the caliber and brand retrieved from the crime scene was also found in the car. Mendoza was apprehended on April 9, 2012 near the 4900 block of Osborn Road. Police had received information that a murder suspect was in the area. As they were searching the area, Mendoza forced his way into a nearby residence without the owner’s permission. The resident called 911 and fled the home. When Mendoza refused to obey commands to surrender, police tactical units entered the residence and discovered him hiding under a bed. He was indicted by a Grand Jury on April 16th. At trial, Mendoza was convicted of both charges and the State successfully proved five aggravating circumstances, including the use of a deadly weapon and previous involvement in violent offenses.