An ex-con who shot a man in the head over a missing cellphone in Indio was sentenced today to 39 years to life in state prison.
Jurors deliberated one day in March before finding John Kevin Medina, 40, of Indio guilty of attempted murder, and finding true several gun and bodily injury sentence-enhancing allegations.
Medina, who was sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins at the Larson Justice Center, 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 because of a cellphone.
Indio Police Department Detective Jesse Marin testified about the same motive during the defendant's preliminary hearing last September. The detective said Medina opened fire as the victim drove away because he believed
his missing phone 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 while the victim was seated 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, criminal threats, evading arrest, embezzlement and possession of a controlled substance for sale.