An 18-year-old man accused of shooting a family who stopped to help him on a Montana roadside has no prior criminal convictions, but he has unrelated burglary and drug charges pending against him in Wyoming.
Jesus Deniz, also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza, was scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday on a murder warrant in U.S. District Court in Billings. The Worland, Wyoming, man is accused in the shooting deaths of Jason Shane, 41, and his wife, Tana Shane, 47.
The couple’s daughter, 26-year-old Jorah, was shot in the back while trying to run from the gunman Wednesday in the small town of Pryor on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation. She is recovering in a Billings hospital, a relative said.
The family had stopped to offer Deniz roadside assistance when he pointed a rifle at them, forced them out of their car and demanded money, according to the criminal complaint.
When they told him they had none, Deniz ordered them to walk and then opened fire, the complaint said.
Deniz told FBI agents he shot the victims because he was getting tired of waiting around and because the daughter laughed at him.
Deniz had no attorney of record before his initial court appearance, and messages left at his home were not returned.
Meanwhile, details about Deniz began to emerge Friday. U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement officials released a statement that said Deniz is from Mexico. He is a permanent U.S. resident who legally entered the country in 2013.
“If he is convicted for a criminal offense that allows him to be removed from the country, after the completion of sentence, ICE intends to take him into custody and pursue his removal from the United States,” the agency’s statement said.
While Deniz has not been convicted of a crime, he faces charges in Wyoming. He appeared in court July 2 in Washakie County for a misdemeanor drug charge and four days later on a felony burglary charge, the Billings Gazette reported.
Washakie County Attorney John Worrall was in court Friday afternoon and was not immediately available for comment, his office said.
SOURCE: Matt Volz