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Gang member found guilty in 2016 murder

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Posted at 2:56 PM, Jun 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-14 17:56:48-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A member of the Eastside Bakers criminal street gang was found guilty in a 2016 murder.

According to the Kern County District Attorney's Office, a Kern County jury found Jeffrey Tapia guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm and gang-related charges.

According to the DA's Office, on May 11, 2016, Benjamin Mendoza was walking home in a South Bakersield neighborhood from a relative's home. While walking on the corner of Del Mar Drive and Madison Street, a vehicle arrived in the intersection, made a U-turn and stopped. The DA's Office says Jeffrey Tapia exited thed vehicle and fired seven shots at Mendoza.

Mendoza suffered three gunshot wounds to the back and died from his injuries within the hour.

The DA's Office says Tapia, an active participant of the Eastside Bakers, got back into the vehicle and fled the scene.

Kern County Sheriff's Office deputies located Tapia inside the vehicle used during the murder within the hour. The DA's Office says a handgun loaded with ammunition matching that used in Tapia's murder was also found in the vehicle. Tapia also had additional matching ammunition in his pocket.

The case was investigated by KCSO.

The DA's Office says Tapia is expected to be sentenced on September 20. According to the DA's Office, he faces a setence of up to 50 years-to-life in prison.