ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) - Daniel Mendoza unknowingly laid out his murder-for-hire scheme to an undercover Montgomery County Police officer – who asked him if he wanted his estranged wife shot.
"However you can do it, but if you could well...take her away and have her disappear so there's no body or anything, well that would be better too you know," Mendoza said, according to records.
The next day, he pointed out to the detective the house she lived in, the path she took to the Twinbrook Metro station, and then pointed out that she was the woman with the white purse. Mendoza wanted it to all look like a robbery.
"Let her go up the stairs -- when, like, you meet her... then you can shoot her there. And you have to steal her purse because the papers are there," Mendoza had said.
Mendoza thought he had come up with an airtight alibi: returning to his native Honduras during the murders.
"He was hoping to leave the country before the hit went down so there would be no suspicion cast upon him," explained prosecutor Debbie Feinstein.
But in the end, Mendoza was arrested and the jury found him guilty – all because a brave informant tipped police. Prosecutors now say they hope this case sends a message to the immigrant community:
"We don't care about their statuses," said Montgomery County State's Attorney spokesperson, Ramon Korionoff. "We care about the crimes committed against them -- we want to prosecute criminals, not scare away witnesses."