Stateline hotel murder trial underway |

Stateline hotel murder trial underway

Kurt Hildebrand
A photo distributed by authorities when they first identified Jose Rodriguez-Quezada as a person of interest in the slaying just before Halloween.

STATELINE, Nev. — An attorney representing Jose Rodriguez-Quezada in his murder trial told jurors on Wednesday that her client was defending himself against a Reno man in a Stateline hotel room.

Rodriguez-Quezada, 45, is being held in connection with the killing of 56-year-old Kevin Leroy Edwards.

He was arrested in November 2017 near the ranch operated by the University of Nevada, Reno, on East McCarran Boulevard after police discovered he had a concealed weapon.

Rodriguez-Quezada, a previously deported felon, is in the U.S. illegally. He was indicted by the Douglas County Grand Jury on Jan. 10, 2018.

Reno attorney Theresa Ristenpart told jurors during opening statements Wednesday that Edwards asked Rodriguez-Quezada to come to his hotel room where the two had sex.

She claimed Edwards had a knife and that her client was defending himself when he killed the other man.

“We know who and where this happened,” she said. “The question is why.”

Prosecutor Ric Casper said that while Edwards had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system, no drugs or paraphernalia were found in the hotel room or in the vehicle investigators believe Rodriguez-Quezada took from the scene.

The vehicle and a broken iPhone were found in Wadsworth not long after the incident.

An eight-man, five-woman jury was empaneled on Wednesday and started hearing testimony late that afternoon.

Two interpreters are working the trial translating proceedings for Rodriguez-Quezada. A third interpreter had to be brought in to translate testimony of the housekeeper who found Edwards’ body sitting in a chair.

Former Douglas County Deputy David Button said deputies entered the room at 4:53 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2017, ensured no one else was in the room and determined Edwards was dead.

Button said the most obvious injury to Edwards was on either side of his face.

Ristenpart and Matthew Ence are defending Rodriguez-Quezada, who is facing up to life in prison if convicted.

Jurors are expected to hear the case over the next two weeks.

Casper will be calling his witnesses out of chronological order so that the trial will move along. District Judge Tod Young told him he would inform the jury that was why that was happening.

Rodriguez-Quezada will face deportation proceedings regardless of the trial’s outcome.

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