Yuba County District Attorney: Brothers Sentenced for Death in Body-Dumping Case
All photos courtesy of Yuba County District Attorney’s Office
Originally published 8-2-23 via Facebook
by the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office:
“On Monday this week, Yuba County Superior Court Judge Benjamin Wirtschafter sentenced Carl Royd Olsen, 60 of Lincoln, to a total of 15 years in state prison for shooting and killing Robert Blass Mendoza on Thanksgiving Day 2021. Carl’s brother, Eric Tait Olsen, 63 of Lincoln, was also sentenced, receiving 2 years in local prison for assaulting Mendoza with a metal club prior the homicide, and helping Carl dispose of Mendoza’s body off of Spenceville Road near Wheatland.
The sentences follow earlier convictions of the Olsen brothers. Carl Olsen was found guilty on June 14, 2023, by a Yuba County Jury of voluntary manslaughter and personally using a firearm to kill Mendoza. Eric Olsen pled no contest on May 31, 2023, to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being an accessory-after-the-fact to murder. Over the objection of the DA, the Court reduced Eric’s felony assault charge to a misdemeanor after the plea.
The homicide came to light on November 26, 2021, after an individual walking his dog on Spenceville Road near Wheatland discovered Mendoza’s body. Yuba County Sheriff’s Sergeant Charles May led the investigation for the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department.
Detectives noticed that Mendoza had severe blunt trauma to his face and an apparent gunshot wound to his head. An autopsy later confirmed Mendoza died from the gunshot wound. Detectives followed leads back to the Olsens’ property in Lincoln.
Witnesses were eventually located who said that Olsen brothers confronted Mendoza about stealing a firearm from them. Mendoza, who had been unloading the bed of a truck, was standing on the tailgate above the Olsen brothers when the confrontation began. Eric yelled at Mendoza, demanding that Mendoza tell them where the stolen gun was, and then hitting Mendoza with a metal billy-club twice. A second later Carl produced a .22 caliber revolver and fired a single shot, striking Mendoza in the head. Witnesses saw Mendoza fall face-first to the ground from the tailgate.
Yuba County detectives served a search warrant at the Olsens’ property, locating multiple guns, including the revolver used to kill Mendoza, and blood on Carl Olsen’s truck, which was used to dump Mendoza’s body in Yuba County.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Monique McDevitt and Deputy District Attorney Caitlin Smith tried the case to the jury on behalf of the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office. Carl and Eric Olsen both testified at the trial. Carl told the jury that he believed Mendoza had a gun and that it was necessary to shoot Mendoza to protect himself and his brother Eric. Eric testified that he was surprised that Carl shot Mendoza. Based on the verdicts, the jury concluded that Carl Olsen acted with imperfect self-defense when he shot Robert Mendoza, meaning that Carl Olsen actually believed that he or someone else was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily injury, but that his belief was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances.
At the sentencing on Monday, Mendoza’s brother and sister submitted statements to the Court. They expressed the devastating impact the loss of their brother has had on their family, including how it has forever changed the way they feel about and celebrate Thanksgiving, which now stands as a reminder of the senseless and tragic end to their brother’s life.
Robert Mendoza was deeply loved by his family and friends and will be missed.
Rest in peace Mr. Mendoza.”