Merced man ordered to trial in girlfriend's shooting death

local@modbee.comOctober 8, 2012 

— A Merced County judge has ordered a 21-year-old man to stand trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge in the July 4 shooting death of his girlfriend.

Fabio Mendonca faces up to four years in prison if convicted in the death of Mirisa Dinwiddie, 20, who was shot in the face with a shotgun at a residence in Delhi. Judge Mark Bacciarini decided that there was enough evidence for a trial after hearing testimony from law enforcement and witnesses during a preliminary hearing last week.

Prosecutor Steven Slocum recently amended the charge in the case from voluntary manslaughter to involuntary manslaughter. When Mendonca was arrested, he was held on suspicion of murder. Slocum said he believes the shooting was unintentional, and there's evidence Mendonca and the victim both had been playing with the gun before it went off.

Much of the case is based upon witness statements from Mendonca's 10-year-old brother and the victim's aunt, Terry Wilson.

Slocum said the youngster testified during the preliminary hearing that Mendonca had walked toward Dinwiddie with the gun, and she pulled the barrel toward her face, kidding around and saying something like "shoot me." Mendonca tried to pull the gun away from Dinwiddie's face when the gun went off, according to the boy's testimony.

Wilson, however, told a slightly different story to deputies, saying Mendonca had placed the gun in Dinwiddie's face before it went off.

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