Jury to get Stateline hotel murder case on Friday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Jury to get Stateline hotel murder case on Friday

by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com
A photo distributed in October seeking the suspect in the death of a Reno man at the Hard Rock Hotel in Casino in Stateline.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Closing arguments are expected Friday morning in the trial of a man accused in a Lake Tahoe hotel murder.

Jose Rodriguez-Quezada, 45, is facing up to life in prison in the October 2017 stabbing death of Reno resident Kevin Edwards.

An eight-man, four-woman jury is expected to receive the case after attorneys are done presenting arguments.

The trial was originally expected to last two and a half weeks when it started on June 12.

However, in her opening argument, Reno attorney Theresa Ristenpart told jurors that Rodriguez-Quezada was in the Stateline casino hotel room with Edwards and that he killed the Reno man, but in self-defense.

Ristenpart and Matthew Ence are defending Rodriguez-Quezada, who has been in custody since November 2017. He was indicted for murder by the Douglas County Grand Jury in January 2018.

Rodriguez-Quezada is in the U.S. illegally and is also being held for immigration officials.

He faces deportation proceedings no matter what happens in the case.

Edwards body was found Oct. 3, 2017, by a housekeeper.

According to a transcript of testimony before the grand jury, Edwards had been stabbed or slashed 30 times when his body was found.

Deputies at the scene reported blood on the walls and furniture in disarray after what appeared to be a violent struggle.

Edwards’ BMW was missing from the hotel and was the subject of a regional search. It was found three days after the slaying in Wadsworth.

Authorities sought the public’s help finding Rodriguez-Quezada, who was spotted on security footage taken at the hotel, allegedly wearing a wig.

Rodriguez-Quezada was homeless, unemployed and living near the river in the Reno-Sparks area for the past year.

Ristenpart said Edwards invited Rodriguez-Quezada to the hotel room, promising food and shelter. The two men had sex. According to Ristenpart, that’s when Edwards produced a knife and threatened Rodriguez-Quezada.