A Bronx man was convicted on April 24 for the kidnapping and murder of a 33-year-old Flushing man and for the kidnapping of the victim’s 80-year-old mother, as well, during a home invasion and robbery in May 2011.
“The defendant has been convicted of lying in wait for his victim and then viciously attacking him and tying up his mother during the course of ransacking their apartment,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “Such a senseless act of violence demonstrates that this defendant is a threat to society and deserving of a maximum prison sentence.”
Juan Mejia, 30, of the Bronx, was convicted of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree kidnapping, 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.
Mejia faces up to 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 8.
On May 3, 2011, the victim, Thomas Shanis, 33, a reputed marijuana dealer, left his apartment, located at 140-18 Ash Ave. in Flushing, to walk his dog, Sampson, a German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix, and inadvertently let Juan Mejia and his accomplice, Domingo Mateo, into the building. The duo 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.
Mejia and Mateo attacked him in the hallway. During the struggle, Mejia pistol-whipped Shanis over 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 where Zelda Shanis, the mother of Thomas Shanis, also lived.
According to trial testimony, Zelda Shanis was bound with duct tape while her son, Thomas, was bound and left on the kitchen floor, where he bled to death. Mejia and Mateo then ransacked Thomas Shanis’ bedroom and removed a metal box and other items. Money was also taken from Zelda Shanis.
Mateo, 24, of 1139 Elm St. in Reading, Penn. was convicted on Jan. 25, 2013 of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree kidnapping, 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. He was sentenced on Feb. 20, 2013, to an indeterminate sentence of 50 years to life in prison.