Crime - Sacto 911

Murder trial set for woman accused in West Sacramento beating death

Kelly Dema Carew
Kelly Dema Carew

Kelly Dema Carew will face trial on suspicion of murder in the June beating death of a man outside a West Sacramento motel, a Yolo Superior Court judge ruled at her preliminary hearing earlier this week.

Carew, 26, of Placerville, will next appear in court July 23 in Yolo Superior Court. She is accused of bludgeoning Herbert Ublic Rhodes Jr., 60, of Sacramento early June 18 in the parking lot of Great Value Inn on West Capitol Avenue. Her preliminary hearing concluded Wednesday in Woodland. Carew remains held in Yolo County sheriff’s custody without bail.

Witnesses testified before Judge David W. Reed that Carew beat Rhodes repeatedly over the head with a metal pipe before throwing a large rock onto his head, killing him.

“She was beating him continuously with a metal pipe, then a rock,” testified motel manager Katan Patel on Monday. Patel said he was awakened by yelling and screaming before coming across the alleged attack in the parking lot about 15 feet away. Patel said he did not know either tenant, but that Rhodes checked in to the motor inn about 7:30 p.m. the previous evening.

Carew’s appearances were marked as much by the Placerville woman’s peculiarly cheery behavior as the alleged crime’s brutality.

Slighty disheveled in her green and white jail issued uniform, Carew engaged in animated small talk with a defendant in another case before her hearing. She turned to grin brightly to those in the gallery and to her co-counsel, Yolo County Public Defender Emily Fisher during the proceedings; and, when Patel was asked to identify her from the witness stand, Carew sat up straight and smiled broadly as if to be better seen.

Carew was beating Rhodes “with full force, 100 percent force,” as Rhodes covered his head with his arm in a futile attempt to protect himself, Patel said. Carew struck Rhodes “eight to 10 times,” Patel testified.

“I told her, ‘I’m going to call the cops,’ and she said ‘Don’t call the cops,’ ” Patel said. “Then, she picked up a rock from the garden and threw it on his head.”

West Sacramento police arrived minutes after the 4:45 a.m. incident to find Rhodes dead.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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