Stateline hotel murder trial underway |

Stateline hotel murder trial underway

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

One juror has been excused from the two-week trial of a man charged with the October 2017 deadly stabbing of Reno man in a Stateline hotel room.

That leaves the eight-man, four-woman jury without an alternate in the trial of Jose Rodriguez-Quezada.

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

During her opening statement on Wednesday, Reno attorney Theresa Ristenpart told jurors her client was in the hotel room and that he was fighting for his life when he killed Edwards in October 2017.

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

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

On Friday, jurors heard testimony from Washoe County Criminalist Brittney Chilton that DNA from items reportedly found in the Hard Rock hotel room matched that of Rodriquez-Quezada and Edwards.

Rodriguez-Quezada 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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