Murder case pits brother vs. brother

Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Jerry Medina is in town from Canada, here to offer a reward for the capture of the man he believes killed his older brother.

Jerry, a phone technician in Winnipeg, has been making pilgrimages to Alaska for eight years now, trying to discover the truth behind the murder of his older brother, Carlos Medina, who was bludgeoned on Kodiak Island in 1993.

For the first five years after Carlos' body was found on a mountain, not far from his bloodied silver pickup, Jerry chased a phantom, a mystery killer who remained hidden as rumors swirled about who might have wanted Carlos dead and why.

Then, in 1998, a Kodiak grand jury indicted Rolando Medina, Carlos and Jerry's youngest brother, in the murder.

Jerry knew before most people that the indictment was coming. He was the one who found evidence -- including Carlos' missing credit cards and identification -- that broke his heart and convinced Kodiak police that Rolando should be charged.

Carlos, 36 when he died, was the classic immigrant success story, a man who went to Kodiak to work in a cannery and bettered himself through intelligence and hard work. At the time of his death he owned the Asia House restaurant and karaoke club and had a good job at Kodiak Electric Association. He sent money home to the Philippines and put Rolando through school. He was a leader in his family and in the Filipino community and was getting interested in politics.

''Carlos was very good to me,'' Jerry said.

So now Jerry is hunting a brother suspected of killing a brother.

There were 12 children in the Medina family -- 11 now that Carlos is dead. Some support Jerry's hunt, he said. Some don't.

''It's very hard,'' he said, ''brother against brother.'' Family ties are strong.

Say you're willing to protect a brother from the law. Should you still do that if he is charged with killing another brother? Jerry has decided the answer is no.

''I want to know the truth,'' Jerry said. ''If he did it, he should pay the price.''

Rolando was long gone from Kodiak, from Alaska, from North America even, when he was indicted five years after Carlos died. According to Jerry, Rolando went back to the family home, the one their parents lived in, the one where the brothers were raised, but he may or may not be there now.

''He lives there like a king,'' Jerry said, on money stolen from the family.

In addition to being charged with killing his brother, Rolando is charged with stealing $258,000 from the life insurance Carlos left his widow and children.

Jerry said he feels especially bad about this. He was supposed to be executor of Carlos' estate, but he gave Rolando power of attorney to handle the insurance and run the restaurant. After all, Rolando lived and worked with Carlos in Kodiak and Jerry has been a Canadian for almost 20 years.

Jerry is offering a reward of 100,000 pesos, which translates to about $2,000 American. That's not a whole lot of money here. But it's a sum that will be noticed back in the old country, he said, where the economy is not so good.

Jerry came to Anchorage this week to spread the word in the local Filipino community, hoping people here will pass news of the reward to relatives back in the islands: Someone can pick up some fast cash by dropping a dime on a man accused of killing his own brother.

''Money talks in the Philippines,'' he said.

Jerry hopes the reward he is offering will kick loose some solid information so the FBI can scoop up Rolando. Kodiak police asked the FBI to help find Rolando Medina, and they have a ''U-FAP warrant'' for him: unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The FBI has agents stationed in the Philippines, said spokesman Eric Gonzalez. ''There is an active investigation going on.''

Kodiak Police Chief T.C. Kamai said Alaska will definitely seek to extradite Rolando Medina to face the charges -- whenever he is caught.

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(Distributed by The Associated Press)



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