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Second teen charged in Garner double murder found not guilty

Posted September 26
Updated September 27

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— A 19-year-old man was found not guilty of first-degree murder Monday in the shooting death of a Garner couple in their home in 2013.

Isrrael Vasquez was found not guilty of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary charges in the Jan. 5, 2013, shooting deaths of Samuel Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza.

According to investigators, the couple was at home with their 3-year-old son, at 708 Colonial Drive, when two men wearing hair nets, masks and gloves kicked in their door and shot them.

Jose Mendoza, 34, was shot 16 times in the head, chest and torso, and Maria Mendoza, 34, was shot seven times in the back, lower abdomen and legs. The boy was not injured in the attack.

Authorities have said the Mendozas, who were longtime employees of Golden Corral, were unintended victims of a dispute between two rival gangs and that the target had lived in the house in 2011 prior to the couple moving there.

Investigators found dozens of shell casings from a .45 caliber handgun and a 7.62mm rifle in the home, which led to the charges against Vasquez and his nephew, Jonathan Santillan.

Santillan was convicted of murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Vasquez was found guilty Monday of possession of a stolen firearm with an altered serial number. He was sentenced to six to 17 months in prison for having the stolen gun and 45 days for altering the serial number. Because he has already spent more than three years jail awaiting trial, he was given credit for time served and released.


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