Local News

15-year-old can be charged as adult in Wake double slaying

Posted May 21, 2013

Jose Samual Flores Mendoza, left, and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were fatally shot inside their home on Jan. 5, 2013.

— A 15-year-old boy charged four months ago in the shooting deaths of a married couple in their Wake County home can be tried as an adult, a District Court judge ruled.

A witness testified during a probable cause hearing Tuesday that Jose Samual Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza, both 34, were unintentional victims in a dispute between two rival gangs and that the target had lived in their house, at 708 Colonial Drive near Garner, for about six months in 2011 prior to the Mendozas moving there.

The couple was found dead in their home shortly after 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 5. Their 3-year-old son, Jacob, was found unharmed.

The teen, a juvenile whose name has not been released, and his 16-year-old uncle, Issrael Vasquez, were arrested less than three weeks after the shootings.

Each is charged with two counts of murder, felony conspiracy, first-degree burglary and possession of stolen property. Vasquez faces an additional charge of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Tuesday's witness testified that he was with the suspects on the morning of the shootings but that he waited outside in a car while they – both armed and wearing hair nets, masks and gloves – kicked in the door and shot the couple.

One had a handgun and the other an AK-47, the witness said. Afterward, they returned to the car, where the teen, smiling, mentioned seeing a child inside.

"We left him alone," the witness recalled the teen saying. "He will be traumatized."

Scott Barefoot, an investigator with the Wake County Sheriff's Office, testified that Maria Mendoza was killed first and that a small child came running out of another room and witnessed Jose Mendoza being shot.

The home, Barefoot said, "was all shot up."

According to a search warrant, investigators found 11 shell casings from a .45 caliber handgun and 29 from a 7.62 mm rifle.

Also testifying Tuesday was Maria Mendoza's brother, Carlos Saravia.

He said that he last saw his sister and brother-in-law on Jan. 4 when he went to pick up the couple's 12-year-old son, Jorge. The boy wasn't home at the time at the time of the killings, Saravia said, because he had spent the night with him.

Saravia said after the hearing that he and his brother are now caring for the Jorge and Jacob and that the case has been very difficult for the family.

He added that they are anxious to get a trial date.

It's still unclear as to when that will be. Both suspects have not yet been indicted.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Sherlock May 23, 2013

    And our state want to raise the age to over 18....also were did the individuals get the weapons??? The witness will not be charged, he will go free because of deals that have been made by the DA's Office. Why would he go seek medical or mental health attention he is a member of a gang, he knew what he was doing .

  • joshuawlamb May 23, 2013

    jenna, it said that the teen who did the shooting was smiling.

  • 678devilish May 22, 2013

    He should absolutely be tried as an adult. He knew what he was doing when he picked up the loaded gun and fired it. May justice be served for these two people. Now let him see his consequences when he enters prison for life.

  • JennaRink May 22, 2013

    Regarding "Tuesday's witness": "Afterward, they returned to the car, where the teen, smiling, mentioned seeing a child inside.
    "We left him alone," the witness recalled the teen saying. "He will be traumatized."

    Seriously? Smiling? This witness was an ACCOMPLICE, and apparently enjoyed it. He should be held just as accountable.

  • OGE May 22, 2013

    So we want to be able to charge this child as an adult...but he can not go seek medical or mental health attention without a notarized statement from his parents.

    His parents should be equally charged as he is.

  • Mom120 May 22, 2013

    tiblet... makes me angry too

  • my2cents-justsaying May 22, 2013

    That poor baby boy witnessing such a horrible thing.

  • tiblet May 22, 2013

    just reading this article makes me very angry. Imagine being a juror and having to sit through the trials for these two. The best legal representation in the world is not going to help them.

  • littleriver69 May 22, 2013

    Death penalty.

  • Classified May 22, 2013

    "Yet we're going to give amnesty to their ranks with the new immigration bill." umop apisdn

    Talk about profiling!