#67: He committed 13 armed robberies, beat people with a baseball bat, and killed a father who was hanging Christmas lights, prosecutors say. And he did it while on felony bail.

During a four-hour cross-city crime spree on December 11, Pedro Mendiola and Moises Barrios committed at least 13 armed robberies and beat ten people with a baseball bat and a crowbar, prosecutors said Friday. One of the beating victims, 49-year-old Jose Tellez, died after the men allegedly attacked him as he hung Christmas lights on his home.

Mendiola was on bail with a pending felon in possession of a firearm case at the time. He is the 67th person charged with killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago last year while awaiting trial for a felony.

Mendiola allegedly told police that he regrets participating in the violent crime spree, but Christmas was around the corner, and he had no money for his kids.

Pedro Mendiola and Jose Telez | CPD; Martinez Funeral Home

The evidence against Mendiola, 21, and 23-year-old Moises Barrios includes phone video of them riding around in a red Dodge Intrepid with a blue aluminum baseball bat before the attacks began, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Their first alleged crime of the day, an armed robbery while wielding the baseball bat, failed around 3:52 p.m.when the victim ran away on the 3500 block of North Laramie.

Others would not be so lucky.

Five minutes later, Barrios hit an Amazon driver in the head with the bat during a robbery, Murphy said. A witness allegedly saw them search the driver for valuables and escape in the Intrepid, registered to Barrios’ mother.

Murphy said a few minutes later, the duo swung the bat at a postal worker and demanded his property. They allegedly broke out the window of his delivery truck with the bat, stole items from inside the vehicle, and drove away in the Intrepid.

At 4:15 p.m., another robbery victim was hit in the head with a bat, then kicked as he lay on the ground near Lockwood and Berenice in Portage Park. Murphy said Barrios and Mendiola robbed him of his phone, shoes, and money.

Murphy described one robbery after another with similar, violent details.

About halfway into their spree, the two men rolled up on the 3500 block of West 58th Street as Jose Tellez was decorating his home for the holidays.

Murphy said that Tellez’s 14-year-old daughter looked out the window when she heard her father scream and Barrios beating her dad with a baseball bat while Mendiola stood nearby.

She and her brother went outside and found their father in a pool of blood with his phone missing. The attackers were gone. Tellez died from blunt force trauma to his head.

The men continued to attack and rob victims for another 90 minutes, according to the allegations.

Around 9 p.m., police went to the registered address for the Dodge Intrepid and found Barrios standing next to it in the alley, Murphy said. He was arrested and charged with the first and last crimes of the spree.

Cops recovered a crowbar and a baseball bat from the Intrepid. DNA testing on the crowbar came back to Barrios, and blood on the crowbar matched Tellez, Murphy said. The baseball bat allegedly had fingerprints from Mendiola and Tellez’s blood.

Police continued their investigation into the other crimes and Tellez’s murder. Under questioning, Mendiola told police Barrios beat Tellez to death, and he admitted to all of the robberies, Murphy said.

Mendiola was on bail for a pending charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He posted a $500 bail deposit to get out of jail in the case, records show. The charge stems from an arrest on July 26, about two blocks from where Tellez was killed, according to CPD records.

He is charged with first-degree murder, 12 counts of armed robbery, nine counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and seven other felonies.

Barrios, who has previous felony convictions for being a felon in possession of a firearm, residential burglary, and narcotics, is charged with first-degree murder, 12 counts of armed robbery, nine counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and five other felonies.

Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered both men held without bail.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, or trying to kill a person while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.

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