By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Convicted murderer Mendonca who killed in Keyes once denied parole
• Fatally shot Kenny Stewart, 23, in 1989
parole board

Ceres native and convicted murderer Steven Curtis Mendonca, 58, was found unsuitable for parole at a Jan. 3 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi.

Deputy District Attorney Victoria Vasquez argued for continued confinement based on Mendonca’s history of violating prison rules, his lack of significant programming and his criminal history.

This was Mendonca’s third parole hearing and he won’t be considered for parole for another seven years unless there is a change in circumstances.

On Jan. 22, 1989, the 23-year-old Mendonca and a co-defendant drove Kenny Stewart to a remote location in Keyes under the pretext they were going to use drugs together when they were planning to kill him over a money dispute. Once at the orchard, Mendonca pushed Stewart to the ground and put a coat over his head. The co-defendant then shot the victim and handed the handgun to Mendonca, who fatally shot Stewart in the head.

At the time, Mendonca was on parole for armed robbery and possession of heroin for sale.

In June 1991, Mendonca pled guilty to the second-degree murder of Mr. Stewart and was sentenced to serve 15 years-to-life in state prison.

Since his last parole hearing in 2019, Mendoca has continued to violate prison rules with two incidents of fighting (the most recent in December of 2022) and one incident of committing battery with a deadly weapon on a fellow inmate. Mendonca has committed a total of 20 rules violations which include fighting, possession of dangerous weapons, battery on a fellow inmate, battery on a peace officer, and uttering threats of violence.

The Parole Board found Mendonca, who refused to attend his parole hearing and meet with the prison psychologist, would be an unreasonable risk of danger to society if released.