Man found guilty of second-degree murder for 2012 shooting

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A Valley man is facing nearly three decades in prison for his role in a fatal shooting last year.

Marcos Rene Mendoza, 26, has been found guilty of second-degree murder and criminal trespass in connection with the killing of Manuel Chavarria.

Mendoza is facing a maximum sentence of more than 27 years. He’s due back in court on July 19 for sentencing. 

On April 1, 2012, Mendoza and three other people went to an apartment belonging to Chavarria’s girlfriend, Sabrina Martinez, to retrieve a pair of shoes that Martinez had removed from Mendoza’s vehicle earlier that day.

Martinez agreed to return Mendoza’s shoes after he agreed to give back her purse and cell phone, which she had left in his car a week earlier.

Mendoza and his three companions subsequently left, but as they were driving down the road Chavarria drove past them and motioned for Mendoza to pull into a convenience store parking lot.

Surveillance video from the store showed Chavarria approaching the driver’s window of Mendoza’s vehicle and engaging in a verbal altercation.

Chavarria walked away, but when he approached Mendoza’s vehicle a second time Mendoza opened fire.

Two of the passengers in Mendoza’s vehicle fled the scene on foot, while the third individual remained on scene to perform CPR on Chavarria. Mendoza drove away from the scene.

Mendoza’s vehicle was later found at a housing complex near the convenience store. A shell casing matching the caliber and brand found at the crime scene was located inside the vehicle.

On April 9,2012 police received information that Mendoza was in the 4900 block of Osborn Road.

As officers were trying to locate him, Mendoza broke into a home, forcing the owner to flee the residence and call 9-1-1.

Tactical units were eventually brought in and Mendoza was found hiding under a bed.

“Thanks to diligent police work and the cooperation of witnesses who came forward and did the right thing, we were able to hold this violent criminal accountable for his actions,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “We now look forward to the imposition of a just sentence that will keep this repeat offender off our streets for an appropriately long period of time.”