The man who shot and killed a middle school student in an Englewood alley was sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Elizabeth Weishaupl sentenced Antonio Pulido Mendez, 19, of Littleton, on Nov. 9 for the death of Jonah Hirsh, who was 13 years old when he was murdered.
On July 14, 2019, Mendez and three associates met Jonah and his older cousin in the alley. Jonah and the cousin expected to sell drugs to the four. But Mendez and the other three set up the drug deal with the intent to rob Jonah and the cousin.
Mendez shot Jonah in the arm and the chest with a 9 mm handgun. Jonah died at the scene. Mendez shot the cousin in the neck; he survived.
“This defendant made reckless, stupid decisions,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrew Steers. “He chose to bring a loaded gun to a robbery and pull the trigger. Today he faces the consequences for his actions.”
On Aug. 3, 2021, Mendez pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.
Jonah’s family was in court for the sentencing. When the cousin’s frantic 911 call was played, the cousin and Jonah’s mother stepped out of the courtroom.
“The intent was never to buy drugs – it was to rob the victims, who were not armed,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Daniel Warhola said during sentencing. “Jonah was shot through both lungs and his heart. What this defendant did is not allowed, cannot be tolerated and must be punished.”
“What brought us here is a tragedy – poor choices, poor decisions, and now consequences for those,” Judge Weishaupl said. “Jonah deserved the opportunity to learn and grow and engage with the world, and he was never be able to do that.”
Mendez’s accomplices were sentenced previously:
• Marcus Antonio Montez, 19, of Centennial, planned the crime. He had a handgun but never fired it. He pleaded guilty June 17, 2020, to one count of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. He was sentenced Aug. 10, 2020, to 20 years in prison.
• Jesus Perez Medrano, 21, of Centennial, was the driver. He pleaded guilty June 17, 2020, to one count of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. He was sentenced Aug. 10, 2020, to 18 years in prison.
• The last defendant was sentenced to seven years in the Youthful Offender System.