Jury deliberations got underway Wednesday in the trial of an ex-con accused of shooting a man in the head over a missing cellphone in Indio last March.
John Kevin Medina, 40, of Indio faces a maximum sentence of 37 years to life in state prison if convicted of one count of attempted murder and gun and bodily injury sentence-enhancing allegations.
After both sides completed their closing arguments Wednesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Riverside County Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins sent jurors behind closed doors to begin weighing evidence presented during the span of a week.
Medina allegedly shot the victim, identified in court papers as Filberto C., about 12:40 a.m. on March 14, 2020, in the 44700 block of King Street. He was arrested three days later.
The defendant’s girlfriend was among the first witnesses called to testify by the prosecution last week. Deputy District Attorney Karen Salas questioned her about a conversation the pair allegedly had hours after the shooting, when, after much prodding by the prosecutor, the woman testified that Medina admitted to shooting a man on King Street that morning over a cellphone.
Indio Police Department Detective Jesse Marin alleged the same motive during the defendant’s preliminary hearing last September. He alleged that Medina opened fire as the victim drove away because he believed his missing cellphone was inside the man’s van.
Medina, who took the stand in his own defense, admitted to being a drug dealer and to speaking with his girlfriend about witnessing a shooting that morning. But at no point, he said, did he admit to being the shooter.
Witnesses reported seeing the defendant arguing with the man inside the van regarding the defendant’s missing phone before the van was driven away, Marin testified.
According to Salas, the defendant fired eight gunshots toward the vehicle while standing about six feet away. Police found the wounded victim inside the van, which had crashed into parked vehicles on King Street. He was admitted to a hospital in critical condition, where he fell into a coma but survived.
Medina has several documented felony convictions in Riverside County, including attempted assault with a firearm and criminal threats, which are both strike offenses, as well as evading arrest, embezzlement and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
Medina is being held on $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
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