Seattle man gets 26 years for slaying

EVERETT — The Seattle man accused of gunning down a Mount Vernon teen was sentenced Thursday to nearly 26 years in prison.

Fernando Mendoza, 18, was missing for two months before his body was found in a shallow grave outside Snohomish. His family on Thursday tried to explain the torment caused first by his disappearance and later the anguish of being told he was never coming home.

“My son wasn’t an animal to be left the way he was left,” his mother said. “He was a beautiful boy.”

Edgar Omar Alejandre, 20, kept his head bowed while the slain man’s family told Superior Court Janice Ellis how much the defendant robbed from them when he pulled the trigger of a shotgun. Mendoza’s brother, 7, continues to ask when can he see his big brother, his best buddy. His family fears that the little boy’s memories will fade over time.

“I don’t want my little brother to forget he had a brother,” one of Mendoza’s sisters told the judge.

Mendoza’s family last spoke with him on July 2. He told relatives that he was going to see Alejandre to settle a drug debt. Prosecutors allege that Alejandre and Victor Manuel Garcia, 19, planned to rob and kill Mendoza when they agreed to meet with him that day at a house north of Snohomish.

Garcia reportedly told detectives he knew something bad was going to happen. He allegedly admitted he and Alejandre purchased rubber gloves and bleach before the meeting. They also allegedly took a shotgun from the house and hid the weapon in a barn on the property, court papers said.

Alejandre is accused of shooting Mendoza as he walked toward the barn and then robbing him. Prosecutors say the two men dragged Mendoza’s body into the woods and left him there. They tried cleaning up blood that had pooled on the ground with bleach and a hose, court papers said. They abandoned Mendoza’s vehicle in a Marysville parking lot.

Mendoza’s remains were discovered two months later in the woods in the 16100 block of Dubuque Road. He’d been shot three times.

Garcia remains charged with first-degree murder.

Alejandre pleaded guilty last month, but denied killing Mendoza. Instead, he acknowledged jurors likely would convict him if he had gone to trial. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend a low-end sentence. He is expected to serve a minimum of 25 years, about eight years less than the maximum allowed under the law.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Janice Albert told the judge that she views what happened as a crime committed by a child against another child.

“I think we have some boys playing a man’s game,” she said.

She said no amount of prison time will seem like justice for the slain’s man family, however, a 26-year prison sentence is an enormous amount of time, especially for someone the defendant’s age, she said.

Defense attorney George Trejo said his client is ashamed of what he did. While he has denied being the shooter, he has taken responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty, Trejo said.

Alejandre apologized on Thursday, saying he didn’t expect to be forgiven. It was an apology he repeated when the judge asked him to face the slain man’s family filling the courtroom.

Ellis said she can understand why Mendoza’s family doesn’t believe the defendant is taking responsibility for his actions.

“He hasn’t said the magic words. He hasn’t said ‘I killed Fernando,’” she said.

Under the law, however, he has made an admission by pleading guilty, Ellis said. She also said that no amount of punishment will bring Mendoza back to his family or heal their grief.

“This is not about mercy. It’s about accountability,” Ellis said before handing down her sentence.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Everett Police Department was investigating a woman's death Sunday morning after a driver hit and killed her on Broadway in north Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Woman killed by suspected impaired driver in Everett

A driver reportedly hit the person, which prompted the closure of Broadway between 17th and 19th streets Sunday morning.

Charges: North Everett murder suspect caught on camera

Jeremiah Stringfellow, 27, is being held on first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting of Naej Belledent, 22.

Police: Snohomish man fled to Oregon after Arlington shooting

The wounded man, 30, was left in critical condition. The suspect, 39, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault.

A snow plow clears snow off of 92nd Avenue West on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Another dusting, with more snow on the way in Snohomish County?

Light snow showers hit the area Friday morning. Another system was coming in the evening. And yet another next week.

Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run collision on Highway 99

Glenn Starks was walking on the shoulder south of Everett when a car struck him, police say. The car’s driver ran away from the scene.

Monroe High School (Monroe School District)
‘Set for the next four years’: Monroe schools levy officially passes

The levy funds 14% of the district’s budget including athletics, extracurricular activities and some transportation services.

The Washington State Patrol was investigating a fatal crash involving multiple vehicles Thursday on Highway 530 near Oso. (Washington State Patrol)
Darrington man identified in fatal 4-vehicle crash on Highway 530

Ryan Gray was driving east of Arlington when he rear-ended a Jeep, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Lisa Lefeber, CEO of the Port of Everett, speaks to a crowd while in front of a sign celebrating the opening of the new Norton Terminal on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Port of Everett christens new Norton cargo terminal

The $40 million terminal took two years to complete and doubles the port’s storage capacity.

Snow lingered outside the office building of Receivables Performance Management on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lynnwood data breach exposed sensitive info for 3.7 million across US

Lawsuits allege lax security at a debt collection agency led to the attack. It wasn’t announced for over a year.

Most Read