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MURRIETA — A convicted felon who in a dispute over unpaid debts was convicted Wednesday of murder and attempted murder.

After two days of deliberations, a Murrieta jury found Roman Ralph Mendez, 22, of Castro Valley guilty of the 2022 slaying of Jason Roy and the near-fatal shooting of 20-year-old Kira Carlson.

Along with the principal felony counts, jurors also convicted Mendez of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 28 at the Southwest Justice Center.

Mendez is being held without bail at the Byrd Detention Center.

According to a trial brief filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, the defendant was a narcotics dealer, and he and Roy were acquaintances. The victim owed the defendant “thousands of dollars” stemming from unpaid drug debts, court papers said.

In the predawn hours of Oct. 27, 2022, Mendez notified Roy that he was coming to the victim’s Hemet apartment at 201 S. Columbia St., near Florida Avenue, to collect some of what he was owed, or possibly take Roy’s compact pistol as partial payment, the brief stated.

Carlson was with Roy in the apartment.

Roy had consumed marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine in the hours prior to the defendant’s visit, according to the brief.

Carlson later told investigators Mendez was in a hostile mood, repeatedly asking Roy, “where’s the money?” or “where’s the gun?”

“Roy told the defendant, `We don’t gotta do this,’ and he stopped answering the defendant’s questions,” the brief said. “So the defendant began asking Carlson where the money was.”

She told detectives she didn’t know how to respond and busied herself with other things as Roy sat down on the floor and turned quiet.

A minute or two passed, during which Mendez searched Roy for his pistol, Carlson said. As her head was turned, she heard a gunshot, according to the brief. Before she could react, another shot rang out, and Carlson collapsed onto the floor, realizing seconds later that she had been shot.

A neighbor across from the victims’ apartment called 911, and Hemet police officers arrived minutes later.

Roy was found dead from a bullet that went through his head, and Carlson had been shot in the back of the head, bleeding profusely but conscious, according to court papers.

She underwent surgery at Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, spending several months in recovery.

Detectives identified Mendez as the shooter after speaking with the woman during her hospitalization.

The defendant has prior felony convictions in another jurisdiction not specified in court records.

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