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Published: Saturday, 6/12/2004

Mexican resident indicted in man's death

SANDUSKY - A 28-year-old Mexican man has been indicted on three felony counts in the stabbing death of another man at a Perkins Township restaurant last month.

The Erie County grand jury Thursday indicted Alfonso Ruiz-Soriano, 28, with two counts of murder and one count of voluntary manslaughter. Authorities allege that he stabbed Luis Martinez-Mendoza, 21, also of Mexico, during an argument May 20 at the Don Juan Mexican Grille & Cantina on U.S. 250.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he asked for both murder and voluntary manslaughter counts "to cover all our bases." A charge of aggravated murder, filed earlier in Sandusky Municipal Court, was dismissed.

"I just didn't think there was any evidence, and the grand jury didn't either, that there was prior calculation and design," the prosecutor said.

According to Mr. Baxter, Mr. Ruiz-Soriano, Mr. Martinez-Mendoza, and the victim's half-brother, Domingo Mendoza, 19, had been fired from their jobs and stopped at the restaurant for drinks before a planned bus trip out of town.

"Spontaneously, an argument erupted, and he stabbed this guy in the neck," Mr. Baxter said.

The prosecution is seeking to obtain a taped deposition from Mr. Mendoza, a Mexican who is being held in the Erie County jail on misdemeanor charges, Mr. Baxter said.

If convicted of the most serious charge in the indictment, Mr. Ruiz-Soriano could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. He remains in the Erie County jail on $160,000 bond.

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