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The Carthage Press
  • Murder trial slated for summer

  • A Carthage man will face trial this summer on charges of second degree murder in the April 2012 death of Mario Gonzalez, 43, in a camp on the Spring River just north of High Street and east of Francis Street.
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  • A Carthage man will face trial this summer on charges of second degree murder in the April 2012 death of Mario Gonzalez, 43, in a camp on the Spring River just north of High Street and east of Francis Street.
    Juan Mendoza, 45, Carthage, appeared in court on Feb. 24 for a motions hearing to discuss the translation of transcripts and other court documents into Spanish.
    Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane ordered another hearing on the matter for 9 a.m. March 31 at the Jasper County Courts Building in Joplin.
    Mendoza is currently scheduled to face trial on one count of second degree murder and one count of armed criminal action on June 16. If something delays the trial from that date, it will be held on July 14. Five days have been set aside for testimony and deliberation.
    At the time of his arrest, police said Mendoza was an acquaintance of Gonzalez when both lived at separate camp sites along the Spring River.
    Gonzalez was found in the Spring River on the morning of April 25, 2012, by a girlfriend, according to police.
    Carthage investigators called in the Tri-State Major Case Squad, which brought approximately 50 investigators to help work more than 140 leads.
    A probable cause affidavit, filed with the request for charges said the Boone County Medical Examiner's office found evidence that Gonzalez was struck three times in the neck with a machete.
    The document also says that Mendoza, 45, Carthage, admitted that the machete was his.
    Court records say Mendoza lived at 702 Clinton St. in Carthage, although police said he was living at a camp along the Spring River.

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