A Bronx man has been convicted of the May 2011 kidnaping and murder of a 33-year-old Flushing man as well as the kidnapping of the victim’s 80-year-old mother during a home invasion and robbery.
Juan Mejia, 30, was convicted of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree kidnaping, first-degree burglary, first- and second-degree robbery, second-degree menacing, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon) following a two-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis.
Mejia, was held without bail since his arrest in November 2011 and faces up to 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 8, 2013.
According to trial testimony, on May 3, 2011, the victim, Thomas Shanis, 33, a reputed marijuana dealer, left his apartment located at 140-18 Ash Avenue in Flushing, to walk his dog, Sampson, a German shepherd/Labrador retriever mix. He inadvertently let Juan Mejia and his accomplice, Domingo Mateo, into the building. Once inside the building, Mejia and Mateo made their way to the sixth floor and waited in the stairwell to the roof – which was right next to the victim’s apartment door – for Shanis to return. Upon his return Mejia and Mateo attacked him in the hallway. During the struggle, Mejia pistol-whipped Shanis about the head and Mateo stabbed him in the back. The dog, Sampson, was also stabbed, suffering a deep wound to his neck, as Mejia and Mateo forced their way into the apartment Shanis’ mother Zelda was also living.
The two men bound the elderly woman with duct tape while her son, Thomas, was bound and left on the kitchen floor, where he bled to death.
Mejia and Mateo ransacked Shanis’ bedroom and removed a metal box and other items. They also took money from Zelda Shanis.
Mateo, 24, of 1139 Elm Street in Reading, Pennsylvania, was convicted on January 25, 2013, of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree kidnaping, first-degreeburglary, first-andsecond-degreerobbery, second-degree menacing, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon following a twoweek jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis.
He was already sentenced, on February 20, to an indeterminate sentence of 50 years to life in prison.