A Kern County Jury found Jeffery Tapia guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm and gang-related charges on Thursday. Tapia is an active participant of the Eastside Bakers criminal street gang.
On May 11, Benjamin Mendoza was walking in a South Bakersfield neighborhood from a relative’s home to his own home located nearby. While walking on the corner of Del Mar Drive and Madison Street, a vehicle arrived in the intersection, made a U-turn and stopped. Jeffery Tapia immediately got out of the vehicle and fired seven shots at Benjamin Mendoza.
Mendoza suffered three gunshot wounds to the back and died within the hour. Tapia quickly returned to the vehicle and fled the scene.
Within the hour, deputies of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office located Tapia inside the vehicle used during the murder. Inside the vehicle, deputies found a loaded handgun with ammunition was found, matching the gun and ammunition that was used in the murder. Jeffery Tapia was found with additional matching ammunition in his pocket.
His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20, where he will face a sentence of up to 50 years to life in prison.