General Crime

* Nathan Medina, A 43-Year-Old Martinez Man Sentenced To Life For The Murder Of Joshua Rhoads, 25

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During an emotional hearing in Martinez today, a man was sentenced to life in prison for killing Joshua Rhoads, 25, and attempting to kill his mother and a tenant inside their Walnut Creek home on March 20, 2008, as revenge over a financial dispute.Nathan Medina, a 43-year-old Martinez man, was convicted in May of first-degree murder for killing Joshua Rhoads, two counts attempted murder for trying to kill Beverly Rhoads and a tenant living on the property and one count of first-degree residential burglary.The jury also found true a series of enhancements to the charges, including that Medina used a gun to commit the crimes and that the crimes were premeditated.On the morning of the murder, Beverly Rhoads and her son were in their home at 1110 Boulevard Way when the electricity in Beverly Rhoads’ home office went out.The office was in a new addition that Beverly Rhoads had hired Medina’s stepfather to build onto her house. The project later became the source of a lawsuit and, according to prosecutor Steven Moawad, Medina’s motive for the killing.As Beverly Rhoads and her son were checking on the breaker box, they heard someone open the front door.Beverly Rhoads went to see who it was and found Medina standing inside the front door, Moawad said. He sprayed her in the face with pepper spray and she and her son ran into the laundry room to hide. Joshua Rhoads barricaded the door shut with his body while Medina began shooting at them through the door.One bullet went into Joshua Rhoads’ wrist and out the other side, Moawad said.Beverly Rhoads climbed up on a counter and hid behind some clothes as Medina broke through the top half of the door, reached in and shot Joshua Rhoads twice in the head at close range, Moawad said.Beverly Rhoads lay on the counter hiding for more than an hour before police finally came to the laundry room window and helped her climb out, Moawad said.After shooting Joshua Rhoads, Medina shot into a closet where he believed Beverly Rhoads was hiding. Then he went outside, where he was confronted by a tenant who lived in a cottage behind the house. Medina pointed his gun at the man and fired one shot, narrowly missing his head.Then he demanded money.The man walked back to the cottage to get his wallet, but the gunman left before taking any money. Moawad argued during trial that Medina may have pretended to be robbing the tenant in order to distract him because his gun had jammed.Medina’s attorney Dirk Manoukian argued during trial that Medina was innocent. He said that Beverly Rhoads had misidentified Medina as her son’s killer and that the misidentification had tainted the entire investigation. He also said Beverly Rhoads had a history of blaming Medina for bad things that happened to her and that she was obsessed with the lawsuit over the construction project.Contra Costa Superior Court Judge John Kennedy said at the sentencing hearing today that he believed Medina went to Beverly Rhoads’ home that morning to get revenge. He said he believed Medina intended to kill Beverly Rhoads and burn down her house.When Joshua Rhoads got in his way, he killed Joshua Rhoads, whom he had known for most of his adult life, to get to Beverly Rhoads. He then attempted to kill Beverly Rhoads. When he went outside, he put a gun to a tenant’s head and attempted to kill him too because he was a potential witness to the murder of Joshua Rhoads, Kennedy said.Kennedy said he believed Medina’s actions showed extreme “callousness and viciousness. “Joshua Rhoads’ sister, Brandi Rhoads, described her brother as a kind and gentle person. Family members cried as she played a video that showed photographs of Joshua Rhoads throughout his life.Joshua Rhoads’ girlfriend Joanna Katz said Joshua Rhoads’ biggest fear was dying, but that he still got in front of the bullet to save his mother.”I know that if I could go back in time and warn him of what would happen that day, he still would not have left his mom’s side because that’s the kind of man he was,” Katz said. Joshua’s aunt Dorothy Cheshire said that although it had been 16 months and four days since Joshua was murdered, there were still hundreds of people grieving for him.Joshua’s father Clarence “Dusty” Rhoads III said that the happiest moment of his life was when his son was born and that he had raised both his children to be good people and to take responsibility for their actions. He described the day he received the call telling him Nathan Medina had killed his son. “I only hope at some point Nathan will admit to me and my family the gruesome, cold hearted act he has committed,” Dusty Rhoads said. Medina did not speak at the sentencing hearing today, but during trial claimed that he was innocent.

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