Man with ties to St. Paul gang pleads guilty in connection to 2019 Stillwater shooting

A 24-year-old St. Paul man has pleaded guilty in connection to a case where a woman was shot after being held against her will last year.

Court records show Luis Alfredo Cortez Mendoza entered a guilty plea on Tuesday to one count of premeditated first-degree murder (aiding and abetting) charges. He will be sentenced on March 22, 2021.

According to the criminal complaint, at 2:38 a.m. on June 9, 2019, officers responded to a report that a woman had been found on a road bleeding from a gunshot wound in the area of St. Croix Trail North and 124th Street North in Stillwater.

An Uber driver reportedly found the woman in the road after dropping off a customer in the area. He stated in the complaint that he first assumed the woman was a "dead animal in the street."

According to the complaint, the woman underwent surgery and was able to provide a statement to police after "several days and several attempts." She alleges it was Mendoza who kidnapped and shot her.

Another suspect in this case, Angel Ignacio Sardina-Padilla, 32, was indicted on first-degree murder back in March in another crime that happened in the same week. Both men were said to have ties with the Surenos 13 gang. Sardina-Padilla has his pre-trial set for Jan. 8, 2021 and a jury trial is set to begin on Feb. 16, 2021.

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