April 20, Staff Report
A Queens man was sentenced to 17 years in prison after beating a shopkeeper in Woodside to death with a door handle last year.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that 22-year-old Victor Mendoza of Woodside was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to first degree manslaughter for beating 34-year-old Martin Ouiej to death in March 2016.
“The victim was a young hardworking, family man who had been born in Guatemala and came to this country to make a better life for his family and himself. Instead, his life was drastically cut short by the defendant who viciously assaulted him. His wife is now struggling to keep his business going and raise their three children who don’t understand the whys of what happened to their father,” Brown said. “Hopefully, they can find some solace in knowing that the man responsible for their father’s death will be incarcerated for a lengthy period of time as punishment for his heinous act and to protect society.”
According to charges, a drunk and belligerent Mendoza began verbally berating an employee of the victim, who was smoking a cigarette outside of Ouiej’s store, Tauros Party Supplies at 41-24 54th Street.
When a friend of the employee tried to intervene, Mendoza got more agitated and the friend went in to a lobby of a nearby apartment building to protect himself. Mendoza tried to pull the door open, but only was able to pull the metal handle off the door.
Mendoza walked away, and when he passed by the store again, he swung the metal handle at Ouiej, who grabbed a metal tent pole to defend himself.
The two men struggled and ended up in the street, where Mendoza hit Ouiej in the head with the door handle twice, before fleeing the scene as police began to arrive.
Mendoza has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, followed by five years post release supervision.