AUBURN – An agreement reached by attorneys for Daniel Roberts and the family of Melissa Mendoza, the ex-girlfriend he was convicted of murdering, put the price of her wrongful death at $563,000, attorneys in the case said Tuesday.

There was no exchange of money.

Mendoza’s family had sued Roberts following his conviction in Androscoggin County Superior Court. The lawsuit was put on hold until Roberts appealed his conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

The state’s high court rejected Roberts’ appeal last summer.

On Tuesday, a scheduled hearing in the case aimed at putting a price on damages was canceled after the two sides reached the apparent agreement. The court had not received by noon any signed documents confirming the agreement, a clerk said.

Portland attorney Thomas Marjerison said the Mendoza family agreed to the stipulated judgment against Roberts.

“My client is in jail and doesn’t have any money,” he said.

Augusta attorney Walter McKee, who represented Mendoza’s family, said reaching an agreement on the amount of damages was “phase one.” The next phase is expected to determine whether Roberts has any assets and, if not, what happened to them, McKee said.

He called the agreement a compromise that spared Mendoza’s mother, Mary Mireles, from having to make a costly and emotionally draining trip from her California home to prove the cumulative ongoing cost of Mendoza’s absence to her three children.

The family stayed in Auburn during Roberts’ trial. Mireles has custody of Mendoza’s daughter by Roberts.

A jury convicted Roberts, now 39, in February 2007 of murdering Mendoza, 29, his ex-girlfriend and the mother of their then-2-year-old daughter after a three-week trial.

Roberts waited for Mendoza in the garage of his Sabattus home in the early morning of Aug. 15, 2005 and shot her in the back of the head at close range.

He never denied shooting Mendoza. He said he believed she was going to harm their daughter and him. The couple had been embroiled in a bitter custody dispute.

Roberts’ self-defense argument alleged that Mendoza had stolen one of his handguns during an earlier stay at his home and intended to use it to shoot him and their daughter, Savanna.

Roberts appealed his conviction unsuccessfully, arguing that, among other errors, the trial judge allowed the jury to hear evidence of vandalism of Mendoza’s car and to see two photographs of Mendoza and Savanna kissing and smiling together. Justice Joyce Wheeler also erroneously allowed into the trial a protection from abuse affidavit filed by Mendoza in August 2005, Roberts’ appeal argued.

Roberts was sentenced to 55 years in prison.



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