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Fatal Shooting Over Puppy Mishap: Convicted Felon Guilty of Murder at Illegal Marijuana Grow Site

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In a tragic incident at an illegal marijuana farm in Anza, a convicted felon, Benjamin Franklin Winkle, was found guilty of murdering his helper, Michael M. Mendoza. The altercation arose when a puppy was accidentally killed, leading to a deadly confrontation. Winkle, who operated the unlicensed grow site, faced charges of murder, possession of a firearm as a felon, and other allegations.

Fatal Shooting Over Puppy Mishap: Convicted Felon Guilty of Murder at Illegal Marijuana Grow Site

Man Accused of Murder After Puppy Mishap on Road Trip

The events unfolded on October 6, 2021, as Winkle prepared for a road trip, intending to hitch a trailer to his pickup truck. Mendoza, his hired hand, was assisting him when one of the truck’s tires became stuck. Tragically, a puppy from Winkle’s girlfriend’s litter was run over during the process, sparking the fatal confrontation.

Witnesses reported Winkle brandishing a firearm after accusing Mendoza of killing his dog. Despite Mendoza’s protests, Winkle fired multiple shots, fatally injuring him. Winkle then coerced a neighbor into driving him away from the scene, attempting to flee to San Diego to evade capture.

READ ALSO: Texan Defender: Dallas Resident Shoots Burglary Suspect In Bold Standoff

Convicted Felon Benjamin Franklin Winkle: Guilty of Murder and the Aftermath

Winkle’s flight eventually led him to his ex-girlfriend’s house in Placer County, where he was later apprehended by authorities. During his time on the run, Winkle referred to himself as a “bear,” claiming Mendoza had provoked him into the guilty of murder violent outburst. His arrest ended a weeks-long manhunt across multiple counties.

The trial revealed Winkle’s prior criminal history, including a past assault conviction and misdemeanor offenses. The conviction underscores the tragic consequences of illegal activities and the dangers associated with firearms in the hands of convicted felons. The sentencing hearing scheduled for March 15 will determine the consequences for Winkle’s actions, bringing closure to a harrowing ordeal for all involved.

READ ALSO: Teen Charged In Harris County Shooting: Deadly December 2023 Incident

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