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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

DallasNews.com | News for Dallas, Texas | Statements by Tolleson's Murderer Depict Violent Past

DallasNews.com | News for Dallas, Texas | Local News

Statements depict man's violent past

Murder suspect's ex says he assaulted her at remote site


08:46 PM CDT on Tuesday, June 8, 2004


By TIM WYATT / The Dallas Morning News




McKINNEY – The ex-girlfriend of a man accused of murder said he punched and sexually assaulted her a year before his recent arrest in connection with the killing of a young Farmersville mother.

The 21-year-old Plano woman's statement – along with more than a dozen other witness statements and police reports – describes Moises Sandoval Mendoza, 20, as a man who reacted violently to women who crossed his path.

The latest court documents were filed by prosecutors late last week. Those records do not show that any criminal charges resulted from the incidents described by the witnesses.

Mr. Mendoza is accused of killing Rachelle O'Neil Tolleson on March 18 after she disappeared from her Farmersville home. The 20-year-old woman's body was discovered four days later in a remote creekbed in far eastern Collin County.

Police arrested Mr. Mendoza on March 24 after a friend from Greenville alerted investigators that he told her he had killed Ms. Tolleson during a car ride the night before. He gave police a statement about the killing shortly after that arrest.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to talk about the capital murder case, which is set for trial in late January.

The ex-girlfriend, Farukh Lodhi, told authorities the same day of Mr. Mendoza's arrest that he had attacked her in April 2003 at a remote site similar to where Ms. Tolleson's body was found this spring.

"He took me to a place called 'The Land,' which looks like the place I saw on the news where the girl's body was found," Ms. Lodhi told investigators. "On the way there, he punched me a few times and made me think he was gonna try to kill me."

Ms. Lodhi could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but she told police of being stalked, threatened, punched, choked and sexually assaulted by Mr. Mendoza after she tried to break off their relationship.

Other friends and acquaintances who told police of run-ins with Mr. Mendoza:

• Travis Rose, 18, of Farmersville described Mr. Mendoza as a "nice person most of the time, but when it came to girls, he had a bad temper."

• Stacy Sauls, 18, of Sachse, and 20-year-old Chassidy Gibson of Wylie said Mr. Mendoza threatened to cut their throats with a "rusty saw" the night before Ms. Tolleson was reported missing.

• And Stephanie Tucker, 19, recounted a party a few years earlier where Mr. Mendoza – a former classmate – and a friend of his put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her if she didn't have sex with them. She escaped when someone walked in on them.

The court documents, part of hundreds of pages filed over the last few weeks, also include statements from those who said Mr. Mendoza frequently stayed at an abandoned house near Farmersville when he thought police were looking for him.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Mendoza was wanted in Dallas for cutting off an ankle monitor last fall while free on bail related to charges concerning three armed robberies.

Dallas County sheriff's deputies have said they mailed the warrants to their counterparts in Collin County. Collin County deputies said they never received them. E-mail twyatt@dallasnews.com

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