By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — A Lynnwood teenager is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the July shooting death of a Mount Vernon man whose body was found in a shallow grave outside of Snohomish.
Prosecutors allege that Victor Garcia, who was charged Thursday, and Edgar Alejandre planned to rob and kill Fernando Mendoza when they agreed to meet with him July 2. Mendoza, 18, reportedly told relatives that day he was going to see Alejandre to settle a drug debt.
Mendoza’s remains were discovered two months later in the woods in the 16100 block of Dubuque Road. Investigators say he was shot three times with a shotgun.
Detectives scoured the makeshift grave for evidence and a tracking team discovered drag patterns leading to the property line shared with a house in the 3200 block of 159th Drive SE. Investigators learned that Alejandre was a frequent visitor there.
Investigators first spoke with Garcia, 19, who reportedly gave several versions of what happened July 2. He allegedly implicated Alejandre in the killing, but over time also revealed his role in the shooting, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Janice Albert wrote.
Albert charged Garcia on Thursday with murder. He was being held on $2 million bail.
Garcia reportedly told detectives that he knew something bad was going to happen when he and Alejandre met with Mendoza. Garcia allegedly admitted that he and Alejandre purchased rubber gloves and bleach before the meeting. They also allegedly took a shotgun from the house and hid the gun in a barn.
Alejandre, 20, is accused of shooting Mendoza as he walked toward the barn. He and Garcia then allegedly robbed him. Prosecutors say the two men dragged Mendoza’s body into the woods and left him there. They reportedly tried cleaning up blood that had pooled on the ground with bleach and a hose. They abandoned Mendoza’s vehicle in a Marysville parking lot.
Detectives later found blood in the car. They also discovered a shotgun under a bed in the house on 159th Drive SE.
Alejandre was arrested last month in California. He allegedly told investigators that his fingerprints might be on the shotgun because he’d fired the weapon during target practice. He was charged last month with second-degree murder.
The shooting remains under investigation.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org