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HPL gang member re-indicted on murder charges

May 6, 2014 at 12:06 a.m.

Mendoza

A grand jury split up the case of a Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos gang member who officials say ordered multiple murders.

The grand jury returned three indictments for Joe Mendoza, 39.

In the new cases, Mendoza, also known as "Loco," is charged with three counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and five counts of engaging in organized criminal activity, similar to his 2011 case.

Splitting up the case means jurors or a judge will likely be asked to hear a week's worth of testimony rather than five to six weeks, Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler said.

Mendoza is charged with conspiring with other gang members to murder Theodore Gonzales, also known as "Teddy," who was repeatedly stabbed in the neck and upper body Jan. 25, 2001.

He is charged with conspiring to murder Fred Valdez, also known as "Squeakly," on June 9, 2002. Tim Hunt was shot in the chest instead, according to the indictment.

Other victims include Joshua Gonzales; Paul Benavides, also known as "Pow Wow"; and Joseph Gomez.

Mendoza, an inmate at the Telford Unit in New Boston, was convicted in 2005 of murdering a 6-year-old boy.

He was represented in the 2011 case by attorney Stephen Wood Byrne, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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