(March 21, 2014) The 22-year-old Reading, Pa., man who hid for hours in the bay beneath a private boat dock in Ocean City in June after shooting at two men, wounding one, was sentenced March 11 to 30 years in prison.
Elvin Jovany Mendez-Espada was in a 20th Street motel’s swimming pool when he became angry at a group of six people walking on the sidewalk nearby. After exchanging comments with them, Mendez-Espada left the pool to follow them.
Additional comments were made and Mendez-Espada showed the group the handgun tucked into his shirt. He then pulled out the gun and aimed it at one of the pedestrians. In return, one of those six people struck him in the face, causing him to fall into a fence along the sidewalk between 18th and 17th streets.
Mendez-Espada then fired two shots at a man. His companion, Carwin Duarte, 19, of Reading, hit a man in the face and Mendez-Espada fired two additional shots. One of the shots grazed a man’s calf and another passed through another man’s thigh. Then he ran to Dolphin Street and between two houses to a canal where he remained for several hours. Police saw him once daylight was sufficient.
He told police the group of six people in the pool had disrespected him so he took his gun and chased them down. The gun, a .435 caliber Smith and Wesson, fell into the canal. Two dive teams searched for it, but were unsuccessful.
In Circuit Court in Snow Hill on Jan. 7, Mendez-Esapada entered Alford pleas to charges of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and use of a firearm by a felon during the commission of a violent crime. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence for a conviction. In exchange for the Alford pleas, the State’s Attorney’s Office did not prosecute numerous other charges.
On Tuesday, Judge Thomas C. Groton III sentenced Mendez-Espada to 30 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, for attempted second-degree murder; 20 years for the firearm charge and 25 years, with five years suspended, on each first-degree assault charge.
After his release from prison, Mendez-Espada will be on supervised probation for three years.
Duarte pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to second-degree assault and was sentenced to three years in prison, with two years suspended.