KNEELAND, Calif. (TCD) -- A judge sentenced a 28-year-old Rhode Island man last week to 25 years to life for charges related to the 2022 strangling death of a 28-year-old disabled woman in Humboldt County, California.
According to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Judge Kaleb Cockrum handed down the sentence against Austin Medeiros on Wednesday, May 24, for first-degree murder. Medeiros will have to serve an additional six years and four months in prison for felony evading, theft of a vehicle, and assaultive crimes committed against other victims, including a Humboldt County corrections officer. A jury convicted him of the charges last month.
On April 3, 2022, at approximately 10:59 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on the 4700 block of Greenwood Heights Drive to a report of a suspicious death after a caretaker discovered 28-year-old Emily Lobba dead.
The caregiver tried to enter the home for scheduled caretaking service for Lobba but was denied entry by Medeiros, and the two began arguing. Medeiros then reportedly assaulted the caregiver and fled the scene in Lobba’s vehicle.
Medeiros and Lobba allegedly knew each other and had been together days before her death.
The Sheriff’s Office located Medeiros and tried to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle, but he refused to pull over, and a pursuit ensued. Medeiros reportedly stopped near Fickle Hill Road and fled into the Arcata Community Forest on foot.
Nearly a week later, on April 10 at around 4 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol took Medeiros into custody for allegedly trying to steal a Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol boat. Santa Cruz Police found a loaded stolen firearm and just under 30 grams of psychedelic mushrooms in his possession.
Medeiros was initially booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on charges of carrying a loaded stolen firearm and possession/transportation of a controlled substance. He was eventually extradited back to Humboldt County on charges of murder, evading a peace officer, assault, battery, and possession of a controlled substance.
During the sentencing hearing, the Eureka Times-Standard reports that Medeiros said he fatally strangled Lobba because he thought she was a rapist and had killed multiple women, including his twin. Medeiros reportedly believed that Lobba captured the acts on video and kept the recording in her apartment. He even asked police to obtain a search warrant for the recording, the Eureka Times-Standard reports.
At the hearing, Medeiros reportedly said from the custody box, "I definitely killed Emily Lobba, and I lied on the stand, but I was justified in my actions."
In a statement, District Attorney Stacey Eads said, "I commend Ms. Lobba’s caretaker for quickly alerting law enforcement of Medeiros’s crimes. Thank you to the jury for their dedication and service. May this outcome help provide Ms. Lobba’s loved ones with some sense of justice, and a path towards healing."