Police: Teen said he stabbed three people before murdering 5-year-old

Posted at 10:24 AM, March 5, 2024

MILWAUKEE (Scripps News Milwaukee) — The case against two people charged with killing 5-year-old Prince McCree is moving forward.

A preliminary hearing for 16-year-old Erik Mendoza took place Monday, March 4, in Juvenile Court.

Despite this, Mendoza is being tried as an adult due to the seriousness of the crimes. He’s charged alongside 27-year-old David Pietura for beating McCree to death and leaving his body in a dumpster.

a young child in a suit

The body of 5-year-old Prince McCree was found in a dumpster on Oct. 26, after he was reported missing the day before. (Milwaukee Police via Scripps News Milwaukee)

Sitting at the defense table in Department of Corrections clothing, Mendoza sat silently during his two-hour preliminary hearing.

The Milwaukee teen listened as five detectives and officers with the Milwaukee police department described his alleged role in the death of 5-year-old Prince McCree in detail.

Details that were, at times, too difficult for McCree’s family to bear. His father needed to leave the courtroom as detectives gave the court a look into the gruesome details surrounding the child’s death.

Scripps News Milwaukee spoke to Prince’s parents in January who say they are still devastated and showed us the necklaces they wear every day with Prince’s ashes.

The five-year-old was reported missing in October and found dead in a dumpster the next day.

A week later, Mendoza and Pietura — who lived in the same home as the McCrees — were charged with beating the boy to death and discarding his body.

State prosecutors sharing scene photos with the officer who discovered McCree in a dumpster near 55th and Vliet.

According to investigators, Mendoza admitted to stabbing three others in the days leading up to McCree’s death.

“He said that he had this pent-up energy inside of him before he went out to do the stabbings and felt that he needed to do something,” said Detective Kent Gordon. “And when he committed those stabbings, he said he felt a rush.”

As the testimony came to an end, Judge Laura Gramling Perez said there was enough cause to move the case forward against Mendoza.

“The State provided enough probable cause, specifically that he acted as a party in the cause of death of PRM and did so with the intent to kill PRM.”

The teen is currently being tried as an adult. His attorney, said Monday they will be filing a reverse waiver to try and bring his case back to juvenile court.

This story was originally written by Mariam Mackar at Scripps News Milwaukee, an E.W. Scripps Company.