A 25-year-old man was sentenced to life with out the potential of parole on Wednesday, Nov. 1, for fatally taking pictures seven years in the past two males inside a Harbor Metropolis hamburger restaurant together with the proprietor.
Joey Alfred Mendoza was convicted in June by a Lengthy Seashore Superior Courtroom jury of first-degree homicide and second-degree homicide.
Killed within the Oct. 12, 2016, taking pictures had been Louis Garcia, 23, a Wilmington resident, and Charalambos “Bob” Antonelos, 61, who lived in San Pedro and owned Bob’s Hamburgers close to Pacific Coast Freeway and Normandie Avenue.
Regardless of Mendoza, a Harbor Metropolis resident, being 18-years-old on the time and having no prison historical past, Decide Laura Laesecke gave him the utmost sentence and stated Mendoza was a hazard to the neighborhood.
She characterised Bob’s Hamburgers as a small restaurant identified in the neighborhood as a spot that felt like house, the place folks went to see buddies and the proprietor.
“You destroyed that,” Laesecke stated. “You not solely took two lives, you destroyed that neighborhood.”
Garcia was the supposed goal, however Laesecke stated Mendoza “selected to kill Bob, all as a result of he tried to supply assist.”
Rosa Correa, Garcia’s mom, stated she watched information of the taking pictures on tv not understanding it was her son who was killed. Garcia had a daughter however didn’t reside lengthy sufficient to see her first birthday. Correa stated she relives his loss of life on daily basis.
She was “grateful (God) gave me as we speak, so I may converse with you. I can’t forgive you now. Possibly sooner or later I’ll.”
Different members of the family stated they had been capable of forgive Mendoza and had been praying for him and his household. They describing the ache they’ve felt since his loss of life and acknowledged that Mendoza’s household was additionally in ache understanding he wouldn’t be current of their lives.
The Antonelos household, in an announcement written by a niece, stated Antonelos was a great particular person, a tough employee and a pillar of the neighborhood who emigrated from Greece and was dwelling the American dream. He had retired the day earlier than the taking pictures however went to the restaurant to cowl for the brand new proprietor, who had a physician’s appointment.
“Should you knew Bob, you had been fortunate,” the assertion learn. “We heard tales for days from folks about how he fed them after they didn’t manage to pay for, or would sit and discuss to them or how he knew the precise phrases they’d say.
“He wasn’t simply an proprietor, he was the builder of a phenomenal neighborhood of individuals,” the assertion continued.
Prosecutors stated the taking pictures was the end result of a feud between Mendoza and Garcia that began three days prior with an argument.
Prosecutor John Chang stated Garcia was shot whereas on the counter ordering meals. Antonelos was behind the counter close to the money register.
Mendoza was arrested the next morning. Whereas in jail, Mendoza made statements that had been recorded during which he described Garcia’s accidents and stated, “Bob received it too. I take over the scene and (expletive),” in response to proof offered throughout trial.
Mendoza additionally stated through the recording that Antonelos was attempting to get different folks out of the restaurant earlier than he was shot.
A clerk in a market within the strip mall testified he was in her store: He had on a hoodie and a face masks, however she knew his gait. She had an uneasy feeling about him and adopted him out the entrance door, the place she then noticed him enter Bob’s Hamburgers. Moments later, she heard gunshots and scrambled to lock each doorways to the market.
Mendoza’s public defender, Steve Kwon, stated nobody positively recognized Mendoza because the shooter and that the clerk didn’t acknowledge Mendoza by his eyes. Kwon stated the jailhouse recording statements weren’t a confession, however phrases from somebody who was attempting to behave robust in entrance of a person he perceived to be a gang member.
The homicide weapon was by no means discovered.
Mendoza’s household, after the listening to, stated they imagine he was wrongly convicted and claimed that Los Angeles police didn’t conduct a correct investigation.
Antonelos had owned the restaurant for greater than 30 years. He had retired to deal with his spouse, who wanted to be moved to an assisted-living house shortly after his loss of life.