Jury selection began Monday for a trial involving the fatal shooting of an Odessa man who was killed more than three years ago.
The accused, 23-year-old Mark Angel Mendoza, was arrested and charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in January 2015, and indicted on the charge in March of that year.
Mendoza’s trial will begin at 9 a.m. today in the 161st District Court of Judge John Smith. Lawrence Barber is listed as his court-appointed attorney.
Mendoza is accused of pulling the trigger in the shooting that killed 32-year-old Ismael Rios Jr. in January 2015.
A probable cause affidavit stated Mendoza was a passenger in a Cadillac along with the driver, Manuel Garcia-Carbajal, and another man when Mendoza exited the vehicle, fired several shots at Rios, and got back into the vehicle before the three men left the scene.
Police were first called about the shooting on a Sunday evening in January 2015 at the Third Edition Apartments, 2501 W. 10th St. A woman called and said Garcia-Carbajal had started an argument with her. When officers arrived they found the victim, Ismael Rios Jr., 32, with several gunshot wounds near the doorway of a residence. Rios was taken to Medical Center Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Garcia-Carbajal’s common-law wife said during an interview with police Garcia-Carbajal left their apartment with two of his friends before the shooting, the report stated. She further told police she saw one of Garcia-Carbajal’s friends with a gun get back into the vehicle before they drove off.
Mendoza was later found by the police using registered information of the Cadillac, and charged with murder.
Jail records show Mendoza has been in the Ector County Detention Center since April of 2016 and has no bond set for the charge.
District Attorney Bobby Bland declined to go into the details of Garcia-Carbajal’s case, but said he has not been indicted on the charge of murder.
In an unrelated case in April of 2016, court records show Garcia-Carbajal was convicted of two counts of endangering a child, a state jail felony, and evading arrest, a third-degree felony, and sentenced to five years in prison.
Should Mendoza be found guilty, he could be sentenced to prison for anywhere between five and 99 years.