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Crime

Indio resident found guilty of shooting man in the head over a missing cellphone

An ex-con was convicted today of attempted murder for shooting a man in the head over a missing cellphone in Indio last March.

An Indio jury deliberated one day before finding John Kevin Medina, 40, of Indio guilty of the felony count, and finding true several gun and bodily injury sentence-enhancing allegations.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge John J. Ryan scheduled a June 4 sentencing hearing at the Larson Justice Center for Medina, who faces a maximum sentence of 37 years to life in state prison.

Medina 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.

The defendant's girlfriend was among the first witnesses called to testify by the prosecution in the weeklong trial. Deputy District Attorney Karen Salas questioned her about a conversation the pair 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 testified about the same motive during the defendant's preliminary hearing last September. The detective said 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.

Salas said the man suffered permanent damage due to his injuries.

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 while awaiting sentencing.

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