District Attorney Clark said, “The victim was at a birthday party in a Bronx park when he and the defendant got into an argument. The defendant took things to an extremely violent level by beating the victim with a baseball bat, and—as he lay unconscious—backing a car over the victim. Now he will serve 12 years for a senseless, brutal crime.”
District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Julio Mendez-Santana, 23, of Eastburn Avenue, was sentenced by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Shari R. Michels to 12 years in prison and 5 years post-release supervision. A jury found the defendant guilty of Attempted Murder in the second degree on January 10, 2019.
According to the investigation, on June 25, 2017, on the corner of McClellan Street and River Avenue, the defendant got into an argument with the victim, Jibrail Wirts, over the use of a fire hydrant. The defendant, along with at least four unidentified individuals, chased the victim across the street. While the group held Wirts down, Mendez-Santana struck the victim with a baseball bat three times on the head. After the victim lay unconscious on the ground, the defendant backed his vehicle over the victim and almost ran him over.
Surveillance cameras captured the entire incident on video, and bystanders took pictures of the license plate of the defendant’s 2003 Honda Accord. Police arrived at the scene and located the defendant in his car five blocks away minutes later.
The injuries the victim sustained from the assault with the baseball bat led to serious brain trauma. He was left in a coma and was hospitalized until August 10, 2017. He underwent six operations to his head, and was left with significant, lasting physical and emotional disabilities as a result of the brain injury he sustained.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sara Jacobson and Scott Romano of Trial Bureau 50, under the supervision of Anthony Defreitas, Supervisor in Trial Bureau 50, and Lawrence D. Piergrossi, Chief of Trial Bureau 50, and the overall supervision of James Brennan, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division, and Theresa Gottlieb, Chief of the Trial Division.
District Attorney Clark thanked Assistant District Attorney Michael Schordine, Supervisor in Trial Bureau 60, for his assistance in the case. District Attorney Clark also thanked her Detective Investigator John Reilly, NYPD Detective Claudio Velez of the 44th Precinct, and the NYPD’s Bronx DA Squad.