Gary man on trial in alleged attack on girlfriend

2013-04-09T19:00:00Z 2013-04-09T19:20:14Z Gary man on trial in alleged attack on girlfriendSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Opening arguments in the trial of a Gary man Tuesday presented opposite versions of what led to serious injuries suffered by the man's on-again, off-again girlfriend.

Christopher Mendoza, 22, is charged with attempted murder, attempted rape, criminal confinement, battery and strangulation.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Christine Parry told jurors the relationship was troubled throughout a three-year period, leading the couple to break up until they agreed to a night out two months later.

The night of April 9, 2011, went well until Mendoza discovered a text message involving another man on the woman's cellphone, Parry told jurors.

Enraged, Mendoza grabbed the woman's hair repeatedly as they drove away from the Portage home of a friend, she said.

Parry described a night of terror as Mendoza attempted to rape the woman in the car before forcing the woman into the basement of his mother's home in Gary.

The woman was able to contact her mother for help, though she was not able to provide a location of the home, she said.

The woman's mother called Mendoza's mother, who left the house along with Mendoza, Parry said.

Police found the woman at the front door bruised and battered with knots all over her head from the encounter with Mendoza, she said.

Defense attorney Larry Rogers told jurors his client's depiction of events was "diametrically opposed" to the version presented by the state.

Rogers described a volatile relationship between the couple that was strongly opposed by each of their mothers.

On the night the woman was injured, Rogers said the couple had been drinking heavily for about four hours and ran out of money for a motel room.

With the discovery of the text message, Mendoza opted not to stay the night at a friend's house in Portage, Rogers said.

The woman was injured when she slammed her head into the dashboard as the couple fought while driving to his mother's Gary home, where the woman had been before, Rogers said.

Overwrought at the woman's injuries, Mendoza took 25 pills and was taken to a community mental health facility by his mother when she discovered the woman in house, he said.

The woman "spun this tale" out of fear of her mother's reaction to her again seeing Mendoza, Rogers said.

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