Murder suspect accused of tampering, ID theft

Ronald Clayton Rhodes charged with the death of Kyle Polk

A booking photo of Ronald Clayton Rhodes. (MCSO)
A booking photo of Ronald Clayton Rhodes. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 32-year-old man who is already accused of murder is now facing a new indictment alleging he has tampered with witnesses and committed identity theft multiple times while in jail.

Ronald Clayton Rhodes appeared before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Patricia L. McGuire this week and was arraigned on a 27-count indictment.

Rhodes remains in custody after he and Javier Hernandez were indicted in 2016 for the murder of Kyle Polk who was found dead on December 16, 2015 in Southeast Portland. According to court documents, the murder occurred at the Plaid Pantry, located at 11150 SE Division Street. Polk was found with a bullet wound in his chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found 5, 9mm shell casings at the crime scene that were reported to have been shot in succession from the same gun.

“Throughout the investigation, several people have come forward and reported that Javier Hernandez and Ronald Rhodes as the men responsible for the death of Kyle Polk,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.

Rhodes’ criminal defense attorney, at the time of his bail hearing, filed court documents alleging the state’s evidence against Rhodes stems primarily from speculative circumstantial evidence gathered from individuals who know Rhodes and who told police they believed he was present for the shooting death of Polk but that Hernandez was the actual shooter.

The murder trial is scheduled for April 2018.

Specific details of the new indictment filed against Rhodes have not been released. However, KOIN 6 News has learned that investigators believe he unlawfully used the IDs of several other inmates to potentially make phone calls while in custody. Inmates are given personal identification numbers to make phone calls while inside the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Records show that many of the individuals who had their IDs used by Rhodes are serving time in state prison for various felony offenses.

The case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau’s Homicide Detail and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Rhodes’ current criminal defense attorney, Kevin Sali, declined to comment.