Convicted handyman imprisoned for drive-by shooting at former client
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI – A 44-year-old Corpus Christi resident has been sentenced for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Jason Jaime Merdes pleaded guilty Aug. 24.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos has now ordered Merdes to serve 120 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court heard that not only did Merdes possess a firearm, but he also used the gun in a drive-by shooting the day prior to his arrest. Two victims of the shooting provided testimony to the court, both describing how the shooting has affected their lives and how close the shots were to the rooms where their children were sleeping.
On May 15, a homeowner woke up to the sound of gunshots outside his residence at approximately 3 a.m. and alerted authorities. Upon investigation, law enforcement discovered shell casings in the street and multiple bullet holes in the home and garage.
The homeowner named Merdes as a possible suspect. The resident had previously hired Merdes to complete a home repair and sent legal notice to him after the job was not completed.
Neighborhood cameras showed footage of a suspect vehicle. Law enforcement observed the same vehicle leaving Merdes’ residence and made a traffic stop. He was wearing a holster on his belt. Authorities also found a gun under his seat.
A search of his residence revealed nine additional firearms. Of the ten firearms possessed by Merdes, one matched the shell casings found at the scene of the shooting, and two others were consistent with bullet fragments recovered.
As a convicted felon, Merdes is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition per federal law.
Merdes will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
FBI and Corpus Christi Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Martin prosecuted the case.
Updated December 6, 2023