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A Rhode Island Man Fatally Strangled a Woman During a Home Invasion in California. He Was Caught Trying to Sail Away in a Stolen Police Boat.

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Source: Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office; UNSPLASH

May 25 2023, Published 1:07 p.m. ET

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A Rhode Island man who a caretaker caught in the home of a woman he strangled to death is heading to prison in connection with the case out of California.

On May 24, a judge sentenced Austin M. Medeiros, 28, to 25 years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Emily Lobba, also 28, at her home in Kneeland, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office said.

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Medeiros must also serve over 6 years additional years for felony evading, theft of a vehicle, and assaultive crimes committed against other victims, including a Humboldt County Corrections Officer, prosecutors said.

According to officials, on April 3, 2022, Medeiros killed Lobba and stole most of her possessions. “Lobba’s caretaker encountered Medeiros at the crime scene and notified law enforcement as Medeiros fled in Ms. Lobba’s van,” the DA’s office said in a statement. “Despite a high-speed pursuit that followed, Medeiros reached the Arcata Community Forest where he escaped on foot.”


Prosecutors said Medeiros was taken into custody a week later “after he stole a Santa Cruz Harbor Patrol’s boat and was caught attempting to sail away.”

A jury convicted Medeiros of the crimes last month.

“I commend Ms. Lobba’s caretaker for quickly alerting law enforcement of Medeiros’s crimes,” District Attorney Stacey Eads said.

The DA added, “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.”


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