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Brooklyn car service driver claims self-defense in Gravesend fatality

Sergio Zamora Mendoza, a car service driver from Brooklyn, has been charged with manslaughter and assault in the death of 66-year-old Carlos Guaman. Guaman died following a violent altercation with Mendoza, during which his 52-year-old cousin was also assaulted. Mendoza claims that the incident was in self-defense, as the passengers refused to pay the fare after being driven around for over an hour. The altercation started after the cousins noticed Mendoza had a large sum of money on him and demanded that he hand it over. The situation escalated when the younger cousin pushed Mendoza and the older cousin swung at him. Mendoza was captured on surveillance video punching both of the men, leaving the younger cousin with a broken nose and severe cuts, and Guaman with fatal injuries. After the incident, Mendoza rifled through Guaman’s pockets before driving off.

At a court hearing, Mendoza’s lawyer argued that the Chauffeur had no idea that Guaman had died, and that he was acting in self-defense when he fought back against the attacking cousins. Mendoza has no prior criminal record, and his attorney requested supervised release, which was denied by Judge Adam Perlmutter. Bail was set at $250,000 cash, $500,000 insurance bond, or $750,000 partially secured bond.

Friends and relatives of the victims described both men as hardworking Ecuadorian immigrants who had been in New York for decades. Guaman worked as a tile setter at construction sites, while his cousin was a baker. The surviving cousin and Guaman are said to have been very close, more like brothers than cousins.

The case will now go to trial where Mendoza’s self-defense claims will be closely examined and evaluated. An autopsy report showed that Guaman died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Photo credit www.nydailynews.com


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