Crime - Sacto 911

Jury finds former store clerk guilty of south Sacramento murder

Johnathan Mendivil faces 40 years to life in state prison after a Sacramento Superior Court jury Monday found the former Walgreens store clerk guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a Sacramento teen.

Prosecutors said the Dec. 31, 2010, shotgun killing of Elijah Stacy Cook, 15, was fueled by revenge over a scuffle nearly two weeks earlier between Mendivil, Cook and others at the Walgreens on 24th Street and Florin Road, where Mendivil worked.

Mendivil, now 24, was taken into Sacramento County custody following the verdict and will be sentenced Nov. 17 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen H. Sumner.

“I’m relieved that it’s over. It’s been three and a half years hanging over my head,” said Cook’s mother, Michelle Cook-Berry, outside the courtroom with Cook’s father, William Berry, following the verdict. “It’s just over.”

Jurors earlier this month listened as Mendivil’s younger brother, Jeremy Mendivil, testified that Johnathan fired the blasts that killed Cook after learning that people involved in the Walgreens brawl were hanging out on nearby 29th Street.

Jeremy Mendivil received a voluntary manslaughter deal from Sacramento County prosecutors in exchange for the testimony. He faces a 12-year prison term when he is sentenced Oct. 31.

Outside the courtroom, Cook’s parents reflected on their son’s short life and a revelation the teen had the day of his death. Michelle Cook-Berry said she found her son sitting on a curb outside their home in tears.

“He said, ‘Mama, I don’t want to live like this anymore,’” Cook-Berry said.

“My son, he was no angel, but no one deserves this,” William Berry said. “They didn’t have to do this.”

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee