Emmanuel Mathew Mendoza, 20, was in court for the second day of his preliminary hearing when Judge Richard Mallett ruled that the prosecution had made enough of a case to charge him with two criminal counts.
In count one, Mendoza faces the charge of murder with enhancements for being armed with a firearm during a felony and the special circumstances of robbery and street terrorism. In count two, he is charged with second-degree attempted robbery, with the enhancements of being armed with a firearm during commission of a felony and street terrorism.
According to court documents, testifying at the preliminary hearing were the victim’s mother, Robin Prater, and Tracy police officers Tim Bauer, Steven Clayton, Edgar Campbell, Robert Brandi, Craig Kootstra and Carlos Ramirez.
Mendoza will be arraigned on the charges at a Stockton hearing at 2 p.m. Jan. 23 in Department 24.
According to police, on the night of his death, Prater was driving down Sixth Street with his girlfriend in the front passenger seat and Mendoza and Edgar Jose Canseco, both 20, in the backseat. When Prater stopped the car, a third man, identified by police as James Stancampiano, 19, reportedly approached the car and shot Prater once in the chest during an attempted robbery.
Prater’s girlfriend fled the scene, according to police, as did the three suspects. Prater drove his car east on Sixth Street, crashing into a steel fence on the street’s north side. He was pronounced dead at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital a short time later.
The day after the shooting, police arrested Canseco, but Mendoza wasn’t arrested until Oct. 2, more than a year later, when Mexican authorities handed him over to the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at the El Paso Port of Entry in Texas.
Tracy police officials have said they always thought Mendoza had fled to Mexico after the killing. Mendoza, a documented member of the West Side Tracy Norteños street gang, was detained by Mexican authorities before being turned over to U.S. authorities.
Also appearing in Stockton court today was Canseco, to discuss a date for his trial in the Prater killing. Canseco faces the same charges as Mendoza, and court officials scheduled his trial-setting hearing for 2 p.m. Jan. 23 in Department 24.
The third defendant in the case, Stancampiano, remains at large. The “America’s Most Wanted” website lists him as possibly hiding in Oswego, N.Y., or Palmetto, Fla. Stories about Stancampiano, considered by authorities as the shooter in Prater's death, aired on the show in March and December 2010.
Both Mendoza and Canseco remain in San Joaquin County Jail in French Camp on no-bail status.