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The Carthage Press
  • Trial date set in Spring River murder

  • The case of a Carthage man accused of killing another man in a camp on the Spring River in April 2012 is scheduled for trial next month.
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  • The case of a Carthage man accused of killing another man in a camp on the Spring River in April 2012 is scheduled for trial next month.
    Juan Mendoza, 45, Carthage, faces a jury trial on one count of second degree murder and one count of armed criminal action at 9:30 a.m. July 14 at the Jasper County Courts Building in Joplin.
    Mendoza is accused of killing Mario Gonzalez, 43, in a camp on the Spring River just north of High Street and east of Francis Street.
    Gonzalez was found on the morning of April 25, 2012 by his girlfriend, police said at the time.
    Police said Mendoza was an acquaintance of Gonzalez when both lived at separate camp sites along the Spring River. Mendoza was arrested on May 4, 2012 and charged with the murder.
    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.
    Mendoza was scheduled to appear in court on Monday to deal with any motions, but Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said he was not aware of anything having been filed that required the court's attention.
    Mendoza's appearance was cancelled later on Monday and another motions hearing was set for July 7.
    In May, Judge Gayle Crane granted a defense motion to suppress a written statement he made on May 9, 2012.

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