Suspect pleads guilty to fatal shooting of Leandro Mendoza outside liquor store

Darial Pena pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Leandro Mendoza last year.

Darial Pena pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Leandro Mendoza last year. (6/24/16)

PATERSON - One of four people charged in the shooting death of a Clifton man outside his family’s liquor store pleaded guilty in court Friday.

Darial Pena was 17 years old when he participated in the murder of 21-year-old Leandro Mendoza. Pena waived his right to a juvenile court hearing and instead pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter.

Pena admitted in court that his hand was on the trigger when the gun went off outside the liquor store that Mendoza’s family owned on Lexington Avenue in Clifton. Mendoza was struck and died. The shooting happened on Oct. 16, 2015.

Pena was sentenced to 16 years in state prison. In exchange, he will cooperate with investigators and testify against the remaining defendants. 

Mendoza’s family cried in court as the sentence was read. Mendoza’s sister Viviana Borja says that all of her siblings are close. Mendoza was one of seven.

“We were always together. Raised to always be together and that’s what my mother instilled in us, which is why we are all here together now,” she says.

Prosecuting attorneys say that the remaining defendants face less serious charges. 

One of the cases against a juvenile defendant has already been resolved.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

A house in Manalapan caught fire after it 1 House catches fire on Dancer Lane in Manalapan
On a busy Friday morning, just seconds before 2 Good Samaritan saves woman's life, gets robbed in Edison
The owner of Jewelry Expo in Union Township 3 Sleight-of-hand thieves steal $10K worth of jewelry
Officials say the 15-year-old jumped off a ledge 4 Police save teen from drowning in Prospect Park
5 Neighborhood Brief for April 30

advertisement | advertise on News 12

More News

Family and friends of a man gunned down Vigil to be held for man fatally shot in Clifton

Family and friends of a man gunned down in Clifton earlier this month will hold

A fourth teen was arrested in the murder 4th teen arrested in Clifton liquor store murder

A fourth teenager has been arrested in connected with the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Leandro

Soltis was arraigned on charges of murder, weapon Suspect arraigned in Clifton liquor store murder

The family of the 21-year-old shot and killed during a Clifton liquor store robbery says

Lookout in 2015 Clifton liquor store slaying gets 3rd teen arrested in Clifton liquor store murder

A third teenager was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a liquor store

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE