Crime - Sacto 911

Former tribal chair sentenced to death for slaughtering family members during hearing to evict her

This Feb. 20, 2014, photo released by the Alturas Police Department shows Cherie Rhoades.
This Feb. 20, 2014, photo released by the Alturas Police Department shows Cherie Rhoades. Alturas Police Department

A Placer County jury has decided that Cherie Louise Rhoades should be sentenced to death for the 2014 murder of four people, three of them her relatives.

The decision late Thursday came after three days of testimony before the same jury that convicted Rhoades in December of four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. It took the jury about 3 1/2 hours on Thursday to decide to impose the death penalty.

Rhoades, 47, of Cedarville, used a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in a shooting rampage Feb. 20, 2014, at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Headquarters, where she and her son were the focus of a hearing to decide whether they should be evicted from tribal housing.

A former chairwoman of the 35-member tribe, Rhoades emptied a gun and then grabbed a butcher knife to stab people during the hearing, according to police reports.

Rhoades had been suspended as chairwoman pending a federal investigation into allegations that she embezzled at least $50,000 from the tribe.

Pronounced dead at the scene were Rurik Davis, 50, Rhoades’ brother; Angel Penn, 19, her niece; Glenn Calonicco, 30, her nephew; and Shelia Lynn Russo, 47, a tribal administrator who managed evictions. Melissa Davis and Monica Davis were both injured.

The trial, which was moved from Modoc County to Placer County, was delayed by the death of Judge John T. Ball. Judge Candice Beason was assigned to the case and has presided over the trial held in Roseville.

She is scheduled to sentence Rhoades on April 10 in the Modoc County Courthouse.