Lake Tahoe Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Brutal Killing Results in Life Sentence

Posted on: October 17, 2019, 08:24h. 

Last updated on: October 17, 2019, 10:53h.

A gruesome 2017 killing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline, Nevada has led to the sentencing of a homeless illegal immigrant to life in prison for second-degree murder. Jose Rodriquez-Quezada, 45, will serve another eight to 20 years — beyond the initial life sentence last week from Douglas County District Judge Tod Young — for use of a deadly weapon in the bloody crime.

A 2017 killing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline, Nevada has led to the sentencing of a homeless illegal immigrant to life in prison. (Image: Griffin Rogers/Tahoe Daily Tribune)

Earlier this year, Rodriquez-Quezada was found guilty in the death of the Reno man, Kevin Edwards. The deceased was 56 at the time.

Jurors spent six hours deliberating and initially rejected the charge of first-degree murder. They did not find the killing to be premeditated.

But they also rejected the argument by one of Rodriquez-Quezada’s defense attorneys, Theresa Ristenpart of Reno, that he was acting in self-defense. She had argued Edwards invited Rodriguez-Quezada to the hotel room, where he was told he would get a place to sleep and food to eat.

Once in the room, the two had sex, Ristenpart said, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. But sometime while there, Edwards brandished a knife and threatened Rodriguez-Quezada, who then struggled in self-defense, the defense attorney further alleged.

Edwards began his stay at the Lake Tahoe hotel on Oct. 1, 2017. He apparently met Rodriquez-Quezada in the early morning hours of Oct. 3.

Violent Death

Just hours later, Edwards’ dead body was discovered by a housekeeper. It had been slashed or stabbed over 30 times and was left on a chair in the room.

Blood was splattered on the walls and furniture was strewn about the room. Edwards’ body was bruised some 10 other times.

Rodriguez-Quezada also allegedly placed a dime in Edwards’ mouth before leaving the hotel, the Daily Tribune said. A single granola bar was placed on each shoulder.

Putting such items on the body of a dead person could relate to the ancient practice of the coin as a payment for the mythical ferryman who transports souls across a river between the world of the living to the world of the dead.

There were no fingerprints left by Rodriquez-Quezada in the room. Edwards’ BMW was stolen — though later recovered.

Initially, police said a woman was seen with Edwards at the casino before the killing. But it appears it was Rodriquez-Quezada wearing a wig. In the months before the killing, Rodriquez-Quezada frequented homeless shelters and truck stops and was likely homeless, police said. He had associated with the transgender community, a local sheriff’s office told News4 TV.

It took close to two months for police to locate Rodriquez-Quezada. He was apprehended by University of Nevada Reno police, after he was seen sleeping on the sidewalk near the campus.

In January 2018, he was indicted for the killing. He remained in custody since then.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed a hold on Rodriquez-Quezada.

Previously Deported Ex-Felon

The Record-Courier reported if Rodriquez-Quezada is ever released from prison, he will be deported from the United States because he is in the country illegally. has also reported that Rodriguez-Quezada was a previously deported ex-felon.

Details on his earlier criminal background were not immediately available.