Local News

Jury selection begins for second teen charged in Garner double murder

Posted September 12, 2016 6:39 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2016 1:51 p.m. EDT

— Jury selection began Monday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Garner couple in their home in 2013.

Isrrael Vasquez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder 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 Vasquez and his nephew, Jonathan Santillian – 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 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.

If convicted, Vasquez could face life in prison with or without parole. Due to his age at the time of the crime, he is not eligible for the death penalty.

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

Jury selection continues Tuesday at 9 a.m.