Two young Santa Rosa men were sentenced to lengthy prison terms Tuesday after accepting plea deals admitting their involvement in a fatal bar shooting in 2011.
Both men faced potential life sentences in the slaying of Cristopher "Beto" Medina, 23, and the wounding of two other men on Dec. 3, 2011, at El Puente Cantina on Santa Rosa Avenue.
Jose Campos-Mendoza, 18, was sentenced to 21 years and four months in prison while his cousin, Alfonso Ramirez-Mendoza, 19, was ordered to serve 12 years. Each must serve 85 percent of his sentence before being considered for parole.
Campos-Mendoza, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, was prosecuted as an adult. As part of his plea, he will have three strikes on his record under California's three-strikes law. Ramirez-Mendoza will have one strike.
Medina was killed and Julian Loeza, 21, and security guard Paul Harris, were wounded.
Although much of the incident was captured on security recordings, neither victim was especially cooperative, prosecutor Craig Brooks said, which led to a plea deal on voluntary manslaughter charges instead of murder.
At one hearing before trial was to begin, Harris refused to testify and was prepared to go to jail instead.
"He said, &‘I'm not going to be a snitch,' even though he wasn't, he was a victim," Brooks said.
Police said Ramirez-Mendoza pulled a semi-automatic handgun from under his shirt and handed it to Campos-Mendoza as long-running animosity between the parties erupted in alcohol-fueled violence.
Campos-Mendoza was looking at nearly 100 years to life in prison had he been convicted of the original charges. Ramirez-Mendoza faced about 40 years to life. Neither likely would have ever been released from prison.
"It was just too great a risk," said Ramirez-Mendoza's attorney, Mike Li. "With this, he'll be out at 28."
Several of Medina's family members, some wearing T-shirts with his photo on them, attended the sentencing on Tuesday. His brother, Luis, told the young men that they left two children without a father, and hurt the Medina family tremendously.
You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or email@example.com.
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