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Murder suspect has history of assault charges

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- The man authorities arrested on Saturday on suspicion of a killing in east El Paso has a history of assault charges.

Alberto Mendiola has been booked in the El Paso County jail on suspicion in the death of Anthony Bowler.

According to authorities, Mendiola came to the home of his estranged wife and children and shot and killed Bowler - as Bowler was trying to lock the back door at the time.

According to Mendiola's arrest affidavits, his criminal past goes back even further.

Two more affidavits show he was charged with assault and interference of a 911 call on Feb. 10 -, two weeks after he and his wife separated.

According to his wife, Mendiola placed his hand over her mouth and prevented her from breathing normally.

When she tried to call for help, that's when Mendiola allegedly broke her phone.

Authorities said she had issued an emergency protective order against Mendiola, but unfortunately, it didn't protect everyone in this situation.

"I think a lot of times we're stuck believing that's not going to happen to me," said Sandra Garcia, client-services director for Center Against Family Violence.

Garcia helps educate women on how to properly use a protective order against someone.

But all too often she sees women unwilling to tell others about their protective order.

"We believe there might be a little bit of a stigma, obviously if it's domestic violence, or even sexual assault of someone not wanting individuals to know what's going on," Garcia said.

But she said if neighbors and coworkers don't know about the action you've taken, then they can't help protect you either.

While a piece of paper can't stop a bullet, experts said it can help save your life if the right steps are taken.

"That's where it comes to us, as a community holding that person accountable. We need to help ensure we're doing our part too, if we see something we need to report it," Garcia said.

The District Attorney's Office also shows Mendiola had been charged with assault of a family member in 2007 and served 30 days in jail for the charge.

Mendiola remains in the El Paso County jail on charges of murder and violation of a protective order.

Mendiola's bond has been set at $253,000.

For more information on to get a protective order or how to better protective yourself, call the Center Against Family Violence at 915-593-7300.