15-year-old can be charged as adult in Wake double slaying
Posted May 21, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.