Local News

Trial delayed for teens accused of killing Garner couple

Posted September 8, 2014

— The trial of two teenagers accused of killing a Garner couple last year has been delayed until next year after defense attorneys said Monday they're still reviewing evidence and waiting on the results of a mental-health evaluation for one of the teens.

Isrrael Vasquez, and Jonathan Santillan, both 17, were expected to go to trial Oct. 6 on multiple charges, including first-degree murder and first-degree burglary, for the Jan. 5, 2013, shooting deaths of Samual Flores Mendoza and his wife, Maria Saravia Mendoza.

According to court documents, the couple was at home with their 3-year-old son, at 708 Colonial Drive, the night of Jan. 5, 2013, when the teens – 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.

Santillan's attorney, Jeff Cutler, on Monday asked Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner to continue the trial, saying he's still going through a "voluminous" amount of evidence and awaiting the mental-health report, which was supposed to be returned in August.

Attorneys for both teens also objected to their clients being tried together.

Gessner delayed the trial until at least January and said he expects to set a new date at a December hearing. He also waited to rule on the issue of a joint trial.

Authorities have said the Mendozas 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 throughout the home dozens of shell casings from a .45 caliber handgun and a 7.62mm rifle, which helped them link the crime to Vasquez and Santillan, his nephew.


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  • Erica Allison-Mayberry Sep 8, 2014
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    16 times in the head, chest, and torso?!?! Overkill much??!!! SMH!!!!

  • sunshine1040 Sep 8, 2014

    So much for speedy trials in this state lets keep delaying until all evidence is lost or suspects so old they die of natural causes

  • Brenda Lawrence Sep 8, 2014
    user avatar

    WRAL... Are we ever going to be able to vote up or down on comments?

  • heelhawk Sep 8, 2014

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    I'm curious as to the linkage from the acts of two despicable human beings killing a husband and wife and the President of the United States. I know that you are not a paranoid individual prone to making assumptions based on Hispanic sounding last names nor are you an Obama hater that,despite having no facts, lays the blame for everything from the rise of the Third Reich to the destruction of the Hindenburg at the feet of the President. I'm sure you have some information that the rest of the public isn't privy too, I'm just hoping that you'll share it.

  • Forthe Newssite Sep 8, 2014
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    OH and let ANYONE not forget they planned this to the degree of GLOVES, MASKS ETC. They are not crazy just mean and nasty!

  • Justin Case Sep 8, 2014
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    The criminals get every effort and benefit afforded them. I can understand the best defense possible, but at some point, even the defense attorneys have to let justice take a shot at the accused. These delay tactics as just to let time remove some of the emotion and allow details to fade. SMH

  • mike275132 Sep 8, 2014

    More effects of the Open Borders and Amnesty policy of the Democrats and Barack Hussein Obama.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Sep 8, 2014

    Good job Gessner, good job.

    A turnip could do a better job of judgment.

    Old school wake county good ole' boy ties on the bench

  • sjb2k1 Sep 8, 2014

    The attorneys are just doing their jobs. Even if these two are guilty as sin, they are still entitled to the best defense possible.

  • NiceNSmooth Sep 8, 2014

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    and why would they flee to Mexico? lets not stereotype these criminals