In a shocking turn of events, a 25-year-old elementary school teacher named Matthew Mendoza finds himself facing murder charges and is expected to appear in court soon.
Mendoza, a special education teacher from El Paso, is alleged to have been involved in a deadly incident back in August 2021.
Authorities arrested Mendoza nearly two years after a reported altercation with a 24-year-old man named Eric Hernandez. This arrest occurred at the Gen Douglas Macarthur Pre K-8 elementary school in east El Paso, after the El Paso County Sheriff’s office executed an arrest warrant.
According to court records, it is alleged that Mendoza used a steering wheel lock to strike Hernandez, resulting in fatal injuries. The indictment further asserts that Hernandez’s head hit the ground during the incident, and Mendoza is accused of using his body weight to press down on Hernandez’s torso.
Interestingly, when Hernandez passed away, both the El Paso Medical Examiner’s office and the El Paso Police Department did not consider his death a homicide and passed the case to the El Paso District Attorney’s Office in November 2021.
However, District Attorney Bill Hicks clarified that his office has always treated the case as a homicide, due to the autopsy report indicating blunt force trauma as the cause of death.
Hicks went on to explain the lengthy gap between the incident and Mendoza’s arrest, attributing it to a backlog of cases in the district attorney’s office that piled up under the previous district attorney.
Mendoza is slated to appear in court on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. for his arraignment hearing.