Anthony Mendiola was charged with the murder of Joey Zamora but as the investigation progressed it was learned that evidence existed to prove that he acted in self-defense under the castle doctrine law.
And while the Attorney General’s Office indicated that it would be dismissing the pursuit of the murder charge, the court must still make a determination on how that dismissal will play out.
This is the first time that the castle doctrine law has been invoked in a murder case. At the crux of the issue is whether to dismiss the murder charge with or without prejudice — a decision that defense attorney Joseph McDonald says will set a precedence for future castle doctrine cases.
“First of all, I want to say that it’s very good that all the parties recognize that this charge should have never been brought and I think you heard the prosecution say that. And so you’re right, the actual question is … it going to be with or without prejudice and that’s what’s before the judge right now,” McDonald said.
The case is before Judge Maria Cenzon and while the Attorney General’s Office has decided not to pursue the murder charge against Mendiola, it has not been officially dismissed by the court.
“She’s actually said that there is going to be a dismissal so that news is good and the distinction is will the prosecution be able to bring another charge and that’s the importance of it. What we don’t want is that the prosecution is able to bring back and time and again continue to pursue these charges when it’s really clear that it should have never been brought,” the lawyer said.
McDonald added that the government was quick to levy charges against his client despite, within hours of the incident, there being evidence that Mendiola was acting in self-defense. In court, McDonald stated that his client was heard telling Joey Zamora not to enter the Agana Heights home where Mendiola resided before the sounds of gunshots rang through the air.
Meanwhile, Mendiola is still facing charges of illegal possession of an unregistered firearm and possessing a firearm without a firearms ID. He is currently under house arrest.