Sentencing phase underway in Alberto Mendiola trial
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
The punishment phase has started for a former soldier convicted of manslaughter.
Alberto Mendiola was convicted in the 2014 shooting death of Anthony Bowler.
Prosecutors said he thought Bowler was having a relationship with Mendiola's estranged wife.
The defense blamed the shooting on Mendiola's PTSD, which they said he got serving in Afghanistan.
The jury acquitted Mendiola of murder on Tuesday, but found him guilty of manslaughter -- a lesser charge.
In Texas, manslaughter is a second-degree felony and carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years behind bars.
Prosecutors asked the jury for a maximum sentence of 20 years in court Wednesday morning.
Bowler's sister testified during sentencing.
Anna Bowler told the jury stories about her brother. She said she was nine when Anthony was born.
"His first word was my name," Bowler said. "We were very close."
Bowler said Anthony was born in Panama. Their family moved to El Paso when she was 19. Anthony attended Irvin High School.
Anthony served in the military, spending several months in Iraq in 2004.
Bowler said her brother was an MMA fighter -- still a newcomer to the sport when he was shot in 2014.
Mendiola's estranged wife and 13-year-old stepson also testified Wednesday.
Monica Mendiola talked about the marriage. She said Mendiola was arrested twice for domestic abuse.
At one point, she said, he broke her rib and said he gave her a black eye.
The 13-year-old said Mendiola would hit his mom and said he witnessed the shooting, saying he saw the body.
"I woke up to a gunshot and hearing my mom scream," the boy said.
The defense have not called their witnesses.
The trial will continue Thursday morning.