Former tribal leader in Northern California gets death penalty for 2014 killings


The former leader of a small Native American tribe in Northern California was sentenced to death Monday for fatally shooting four people and trying to kill two others at a 2014 tribal meeting considering her eviction.

Cherie Rhoades, 47, shook her head as she listened to Judge Candace Beason read the sentence during a three-hour hearing in Modoc County Superior Court, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Beason rejected the option to modify a Placer County jury’s death sentence to life in prison, calling the killings at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Headquarters “intentional, premeditated and willful.”


The Feb. 20, 2014, attack happened as the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Council was meeting to consider Rhoades’ appeal of her eviction from tribal housing. She had been suspended as tribal chairwoman three weeks earlier, pending a federal investigation into allegations that she embezzled at least $50,000 from the tribe. Her brother Rurik Davis, 50, was serving as interim tribal chairman.

During the hearing, Rhoades opened fire with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, killing Davis, two other Tribal Council members and a tribal administrator, according to court documents.

The slain council members included Rhoades’ 19-year-old niece, Angel Penn, who was holding her newborn on her lap when she was killed. The baby wasn’t hurt and was placed with a family member.

After running out of bullets, Rhoades grabbed a kitchen knife, police said. She was stabbing someone in the parking lot when officers arrested her, court documents said.