October 8, 2010 By Wallin & Klarich

A man accused of biting out his 4-year-old son’s eye while allegedly high on PCP, pleaded “not guilty” on Monday by reason of insanity.

On April 28, 2009, 34-year-old Angelo Mendoza of Bakersfield had chained himself naked to a tree and was trying to hack his own leg off with a pickax when police responded to the scene.

Before police arrived, concerned neighbors went to Mendoza’s apartment to check on his young son. Inside, they found Angelo Mendoza, Jr. naked and bleeding. According to police reports, the boy had numerous bites on his hands and his eyes were swollen shut.
Doctors said the boy’s left eyeball and muscles where completely missing and his other eye was mutilated beyond repair. The boy told doctors, “My daddy ate my eyes out.”

According to police reports, Mendoza Sr. appeared to be under the influence of PCP when he was arrested on charges of torture, aggravated mayhem, and cruelty to a child. The jury trial is set to begin on November 22.

The crime of torture in California is defined in Penal Code Section 206 as the infliction of great bodily harm on another person with the specific intent to cause cruel or extreme pain. A conviction under Section 206 carries with it a maximum fine of $10,000 and a life sentence in state prison.

Mayhem, a felony under California Penal Code Section 203, punishes the act of maliciously disfiguring or disabling another person’s body. If convicted of mayhem, the penalties include incarceration in state prison for up to eight years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. However, “aggravated” mayhem under Penal Code Section 205 imposes a life sentence for offenders who exhibit an extremely reckless disregard for the physical and mental well-being of the victim.

Under California Penal Code Section 273d, the crime of child abuse in the form of intentional physical injury directed at a minor is a crime that is punishable either as a misdemeanor or a felony. Merely spanking the child is not enough – it requires “cruel or inhuman corporal punishment” or injuries that results in a “traumatic condition.” A misdemeanor conviction may result in imprisonment for up to one year in county jail, but a felony conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to six years in state prison.

If you are facing charges involving torture, mayhem, or child abuse, it is imperative that you seek the legal representation of an experienced California criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our Southern California attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years. We will work hard in raising the best possible defense in your case to ensure that your rights are adequately protected. Call us today at 888-280-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be there for you when you call.

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