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Two teens take plea deal in 2011 killing at Santa Rosa cantina

Two Santa Rosa teens facing potential life sentences in a fatal shooting during a 2011 bar fight took plea deals Friday that permit them to serve significantly less time in prison in exchange for admitting to killing one man and injuring another.

Jose Campos-Mendoza, 18, is to be sentenced to 21 years and four months in prison in return for his pleas of "no contest" to voluntary manslaughter and assault charges Friday for the fatal Dec. 3, 2011, shooting of Christopher "Beto" Medina, 23.

As part of his plea to three felony counts, he will have three strikes to his credit under California's Three Strikes law, attorneys said.

His co-defendant, Alfonso Ramirez-Mendoza, 19, faces a 12-year term when the two are sentenced July 23 by Judge Ken Gnoss. Authorities said it was Ramirez-Mendoza who 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.

Both are to serve 85 percent of their prison terms, minus about 1? years they already have served in jail since the shooting.

The teens had been charged with murder and the attempted murder of another man, Julian Loeza, 21, in shootings captured on surveillance video recovered from El Puente Cantina on Santa Rosa Avenue, where the bloodshed occurred.

Campos-Mendoza, who was only 17 when he killed Medina, was to be tried as an adult.

The murder charge, combined with enhancements and lesser offenses, exposed him to nearly 100 years to life in prison, attorneys said.

Ramirez-Mendoza faced about 40 years to life. Neither faced a high likelihood of ever being released from prison, defense attorney Mike Li said.

Opening arguments in their trial were scheduled for Friday.


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