When two people come toward you as you enter your car, one of whom lifts his shirt, points a gun at you, and excitedly says “Get off the truck. Give me the keys. Give me your purse. Give me the keys," my strong suggestion is to do so. No truck (or purse) is worth your life.
But Ms. Mendiola thought differently. She thought the defendant was bluffing. Even when he said: "I'm going to
shoot you. I'm going to shoot you." To which Ms. Mendiola responded, in words that (quite frankly) surprised even me, "Well, shoot me."
Now, as it turns out, there was apparently some reason for Ms. Mendiola to believe that the man with the gun would not, in fact, shoot her. Because his response was not to promptly shoot her.
Instead, he turned to the woman next to him and asked, "Do I shoot her?"
At which point the woman said "Yes."
So he did.
In the mouth, no less.
It actually didn't turn out as bad as it easily could, since Ms. Mendiola didn't die; indeed, she didn't even initially think she'd been shot (despite being shot in the face!), and drove to meet her husband at a nearby location. But eventually the sheer volume of blood, which she initially thought was saliva, streaming from her mouth convinced her that an ambulance was her best call.
The male defendant, Andrew Garcia, was 15 at the time of the offense. He was sentenced to 35 years to life. Which was reduced (by concession) to 32 years to life in the Court of Appeal.
That's still a lot of time, and Mr. Garcia contends it's cruel and unusual. But pursuant to Section 3051, Mr. Garcia is categorically eligible for parole (notwithstanding his sentence) after spending 25 years in prison.
So the Court of Appeal affirms.
No joy for Mr. Garcia. No joy for Ms. Mendiola, either.
But next time, don't say "Well, shoot me." Seriously. Because a guy that's too scared to shoot you might also be so stupid that he'll instead ask the woman next to him whether he should shoot, and she might well say yes.