The trial of a 19-year-old man accused of participating in the murder of Golden Valley High student DeAngelo Smith is scheduled to begin today in Merced County Superior Court.
Juan Manuel Mendez is charged with murder in the death of Smith, 17, who was shot at a South Merced apartment complex in May. A second victim, a 16-year-old boy, was injured in the shooting, and Mendez also faces an attempted murder charge as a result.
Prosecutors believe Mendez drove a getaway car carrying three unknown assailants involved in the May 14 shooting, reported at the Sunnyside Apartments in the 900 block of D Street.
After the shooting, Mendez allegedly drove the assailants away and later hid the guns under his bedroom mattress. Mendez told the police he didn't know the three shooters, but still drove them to the apartment complex because they'd called him and asked to be taken there. Mendez claimed he hid the weapons at the request of the other suspects, according to prosecutors.
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Mendez remains at the jail in lieu of $2.5 million bail.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
-- Sun-Star staff