A judge in Northern California on Monday sentenced a former leader of a small Native American tribe to death for “intentional, premeditated, and willful” killings in 2014. Cherie Rhoades was found guilty last December of shooting four people to death and attempting to kill two others during a meeting of the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Council in February 2014. The council was meeting to consider Rhoades’ appeal of her eviction from tribal housing after she’d been suspended as the tribe’s chairwoman three weeks earlier. Rhoades opened fire, killing her brother, who’d taken over as the interim tribal leader, her niece, a tribal administrator and another council member. When she ran out of bullets, she reportedly grabbed a knife and was found stabbing someone in the parking lot when police arrived. At the Modoc County Superior Court on Monday, Judge Candace Beason showed Rhoades no mercy for the 2014 shooting spree. Beason rejected an option to lessen a jury’s death sentence to life in prison and denied a defense motion for a new trial. Due to mounting legal challenges in the state against the death penalty, however, it seems unlikely she will face death any time soon. The state has not executed an inmate since 2006.
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