ATLANTIC, CARTERET COUNTY - Deputies said teens forced their way into a man's home and beat the victim with a rifle, all in retaliation to claims that the victim had assaulted one of the suspects' mother earlier.
According to Carteret County deputies, 20-year-old Raymond Winchester drove 17-year-old Mark Lester and 16-year-old Caleb Mendoza to the home of 59-year-old Charles Morgan, on Seashore Drive in Atlantic, at about 11 p.m. on July 19.
Investigators said Mendoza and Lester forced their way into Morgan's home, then jumped and assaulted the victim with a Ruger .223 caliber rifle. The suspects repeatedly beat Morgan in the face with the butt of the gun, struck him with their fists, and hit him in the head with a vase, deputies said.
Morgan suffered numerous facial fractures and was taken to Carteret General Hospital, where he was treated and released.
Mendoza's uncle told NewsChannel 12 what he heard about the alleged attack after his nephew's first court appearance Monday morning.
"[Mendoza] was upset. He went and got two of his friends, they went to the guy's house," said Thomas Mendoza. "From my understanding, they kicked the door down and they beat him up."
According to investigators, the assault on Morgan was an act of revenge. Mendoza's mother had told the boys she was attacked by Morgan earlier in the day, deputies said. Morgan has been charged with assault on a female and communicating threats.
Meanwhile, Mendoza has been charged with first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and assault inflicting serious bodily injury. Lester has been charged with first-degree burglary and assault inflicting serious bodily injury. Winchester has been charged with aiding and abetting for each charge of first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.
Thomas Mendoza reacted to the charges against his nephew.
"He's 16. I don't think he really knows what he's really done. I think he knows he assaulted someone. [But] he doesn't know the consequences of the crime," Thomas Mendoza told NewsChannel 12.
All three suspects were being held in the Carteret County Jail under a $30,000.00 bond.