Man pleads guilty to the murder of a father of 7 children outside the Richland Hotel during the day | North West
July 16—Jonathan M. Rodriguez pleaded guilty Friday in Benton Superior Court to the murder of a father of seven outside a Richland hotel, after he attempted to get the man into an SUV.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm.
Rodriguez shot and killed Tri-Cities resident Joshua R. Gibson outside the Riverfront Hotel, formerly the Shilo Inn, at approximately 10:20 a.m. on September 26, 2020.
Gibson was seen on hotel surveillance video arriving at the hotel and knocking on one of the hotel doors. A man confirmed that Gibson visited him.
Then a black Chevrolet SUV pulled into the parking lot with Michael G. Cook, then 43, at the wheel and Rodriguez, then 27, in the passenger seat. Rodriguez is also known as “Grumpy”.
Rodriguez approached the same room, then the video shows Gibson and Rodriguez walking down a ramp outside the hotel to the parked SUV. Rodriguez had a gun to his right side and was wearing a full face mask, according to court documents.
Witnesses reported seeing Rodriguez move with the gun for Gibson to get inside the SUV.
Rodriguez came in, followed by Gibson, but then Gibson came out. A witness, who reported hearing a loud slap or bang coming from inside the SUV, said Gibson told the occupants of the Chevrolet he would not get in if he was going to be hit, documents show. judicial.
Gibson was also heard telling someone to tell his friend not to hit him.
Witnesses said two gunshots followed a loud argument. A number of people reported seeing Gibson fall to the ground and then the SUV drove off down Comstock Street.
According to court documents, a semi-automatic handgun may have been used in the shooting.
Gibson died in a hotel
Police responded to reports of gunshots and found Gibson dying in the parking lot. Officers and paramedics were unable to save him.
Court documents say that earlier that morning, a woman who had been dating Rodriguez for about a week said she was sleeping in an apartment in Kennewick and woke up to find Gibson there. She texted Rodriguez alleging that Gibson touched her inappropriately.
Cook pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal assistance and was sentenced to 4½ years in prison, the maximum allowed for the crime.
Gibson’s family sent a letter to the court saying they were heartbroken and that Gibson was a kind soul.
Benton County Assistant District Attorney Julie Long told Cook’s sentencing hearing that Gibson was described by those close to him and others who knew him as a kind and caring person who went out of his way. to help people.
On the day he was killed, he was helping someone fix his car, she said.
Gibson’s family attended Friday’s hearing for Rodriguez, according to the Benton County District Attorney’s Office.
Rodriguez was due to stand trial on July 25.
This story was originally published on July 16, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
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