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  1. #1

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    Rosendo Rodriguez III - Texas Death Row



    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced to death in Randall County for the murder of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin and her unborn child in 2005.

  2. #2

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    April 1, 2008

    Rosendo Rodriguez Sentenced to Death

    After three and a half hours of deliberations, a Randall County jury has sentenced Rosendo Rodriguez to the death penalty.

    Last Friday, the same jury found Rodriguez guilty on two counts of capital murder in the death of Summer Baldwin and her unborn child. Her body was found in a Lubbock landfill in 2005.

    Both the prosecution and the defense asked the jury to consider two issues:

    Does Rodriguez have the potential to commit future criminal acts and hurt anyone else?
    Despite his conviction, does he still have good character?
    The defense told jurors that "we only need to kill the worst of the worst," and reminded them to vote their conscience and stick to their guns.

    Prosecutors reminded jurors that Rodriguez showed Summer Baldwin no mercy, and that his actions are responsible for his fate.

    (Source: AP)

  3. #3
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    On direct appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Rodriguez’s forty-two points of error were found to be without merit. Consequently, the TCCA affirmed the trial court’s judgment and sentence of death.

    Opinion here

  4. #4
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    They sure are slow with the news in Lubbock.

    Death penalty stands for Lubbock convict, appeals court says

    The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected the claims of Rosendo Rodriguez, now 31, in his Lubbock death penalty case. Rodriguez was convicted in 2008 for the 2005 murder of Summer Baldwin, 29. Her body was found in the Lubbock landfill; it had been stuffed in a suitcase and thrown into a dumpster.

    Rodriguez claims 42 points of error at trial, all of which were rejected by the appeals court on March 16th.

    Rodriguez claims that he had consensual relations with Baldwin in the early morning hours of September 12th, 2005. He further claims that afterward she attacked him with a knife, and he choked her in self-defense. The jury didn't buy it after there was evidence that she was attacked from behind.

    It was actually a jury in Randall County that convicted Rodriguez because the trial was moved on a change of venue.

    Court records say, "The evidence shows that Baldwin received approximately fifty blunt force wounds at or before the time of her death, that Rodriguez manually strangled her, and that these injuries were sufficient to cause her death."

    The appellate court not only found that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to think her death was both intentional and murder, but the justices also believe there was enough evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that Baldwin had been raped.

    In Texas, the commission of murder along with another felony such as Aggravated Sexual Assault is what qualifies a case as Capital Murder.

    Attorneys for Rodriguez also attacked the punishment phase in which he was sentenced to death rather than life in prison. But once again, justices were unsympathetic.

    Court records say, "After this, he purchased a large meal, ate it, rented and watched a movie, and then slept before checking out of his hotel room. This evidence of such a callous crime could, on its own, support a finding of future dangerousness."

    "We affirm the trial court's judgment and sentence of death." The ruling is described as "the opinion for a unanimous Court."

    http://www.kcbd.com/Global/story.asp?S=14355999

  5. #5
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    In today's Texas Court of Criminal Appeals orders, Rodriguez's petition to rehear was denied.

  6. #6
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Rodriguez's petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis was DENIED.

  7. #7
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    SCOTUS denies capital murder appeal

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied certiorari in the appeal of convicted capital murderer Rosendo Rodriguez III.

    Rodriguez, 31, is on Death Row for the 2005 murder of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin and her unborn child.

    Rodriguez was convicted in 2008 of killing Baldwin, stuffing her in a suitcase and leaving her in Dumpster.

    During a weeklong trial in Canyon, jurors also learned Rodriguez had confessed to doing the same thing to a 16-year-old girl.

    The high court’s decision is on Rodriguez’ direct appeal, the automatic avenue in a capital case.

    State and federal writs are other appeal options.

    In death penalty cases, an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin happens automatically.

    The direct appeal deals only with what occurred during the trial. This includes evidence presented and documents admitted as well as the recorded testimony.

    To reverse the conviction, Rodriguez’s attorney would have had to prove an error occurred during the trial.

    Rodriguez’ appeal went to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction in March of this year.

    Rodriguez, a former Texas Tech student and U.S. Marine reservist, was in Lubbock for reserve training when Baldwin was killed.

    He said he and Baldwin had consensual sex, but she pulled a knife on him when he got mad at her for smoking crack.

    Rodriguez told police in a recorded interview he choked Baldwin.

    He then went to Walmart and bought a suitcase, stuffed her in it and threw her in a Dumpster.

    Rodriguez might have never been caught if he had paid in cash; but investigators nailed him by subpoenaing the debit card records from the Walmart where he was caught on camera walking into the store, then walking out with a suitcase.

    The trial was held in Randall County after pervasive media attention made it impossible to select a jury in Lubbock County.

    He was convicted and sentenced to death for Baldwin’s murder, but the jury learned that he also admitted to murdering Joanna Rogers.

    Joanna, 16, went missing from her Lubbock County home in 2004.

    Her case had hit a dead end until officials began investigating Baldwin’s death. They found a connection between Rodriguez and Joanna.

    Investigators used information Rodriguez gave them to find Joanna’s body in the same landfill where Baldwin was found.

    http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-c...l#.Tt4IInJFvqE

  8. #8
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    Convicted murdered Rosendo Rodriguez, known as the 'Suitcase Killer', is back at the Lubbock County Jail awaiting a hearing that could get him off death row.

    Rodriguez was sentenced to death in 2008 for the murder of Summer Baldwin. Baldwin was killed in September 2005 at a Holiday Inn in Lubbock. Rodriguez admitted to killing Baldwin, but said it was in self defense.

    Once Rodriguez killed Baldwin, he purchased a large suitcase and stuffed her body in it. He then tossed the suitcase in a dumpster.

    At the 2008 trial for Baldwin's death, a jury sentenced Rodriguez on two separate counts of capital murder, sentencing him to death.

    Rodriguez's two capital murder sentences are being challenged by his lawyers. Among the grounds listed in a lengthy court filing--known as a Writ of Habeas Corpus--Rodriguez's lawyers allege prosecutors presented inadmissable evidence at trial, Rodriguez's defense lawyers were inadequate during the trial and the jury was tampered with.

    Rodriguez's attorneys have exhausted their other available appeals at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. This hearing, scheduled for Thursday in front of Judge Jim Bob Darnell, is one of the last opportunities for Rodriguez to be spared the death penalty.

    Summer Baldwin isn't Rodriguez's only victim. He has also admitted to killed 16-year-old Joanna Rogers. Her body was also found stuffed in a suitcase years after she went missing; Rodriguez admitted to killing her and told authorities where to find her body.

    KAMC spoke with her parents, Joe Bill and Kathy Rogers, Sunday. They had not been told about Thursday's hearing but said they hope his sentence is not reduced.

    http://everythinglubbock.com/fulltext?nxd_id=103552

  9. #9
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    Rodriguez appeal to resume in June

    An appeal hearing for Death Row inmate Rosendo Rodriguez III was put on a two-month hiatus Monday at the request of attorneys.

    Lawyers for both Rodriguez and the State of Texas asked 140th District Judge Jim Bob Darnell to allow two witnesses time to review their records before being called to testify in the state writ of habeas corpus proceeding.

    The hearing is the second of three appeal avenues.

    The U.S. Supreme Court in December declined to hear his direct appeal. In addition to the state writ of habeas corpus that brought him to court Thursday, he also has a federal writ.

    Among other claims, appellate attorney Paul Mansur has alleged Rodriguez’ original trial counsel, and their mitigation investigator, did not sufficiently defend Rodriguez against the capital murder charge.

    Rather than requiring Rick Wardroup and Rob Cowie to testify without reviewing their trial notes and records, which had been turned over to Mansur, the attorneys sought to Wardroup and Cowie determine what records they would need to properly defend against an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, review those and testify later.

    Darnell obliged and continued the hearing until June 4.

    Rodriguez, 31, is on death row for the 2005 murder of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin and her unborn child.

    Rodriguez was convicted in 2008 of killing Baldwin, stuffing her in a suitcase and leaving her body in a Dumpster.

    He also confessed to the 2004 murder of 16-year-old Rogers, who was found in a suitcase in the same landfill as Baldwin after Rodriguez cooperated with investigators.

    Rodriguez, a former Texas Tech student and U.S. Marine reservist, was in Lubbock for reserve training when Baldwin was killed.

    Rodriguez told police in a recorded interview he choked her.

    He then went to a Wal-Mart and bought a suitcase, stuffed her body in it and threw it in a Dumpster.

    The trial was held in Randall County after pervasive media attention made it impossible to select a jury in Lubbock County.

    For a third straight day, witnesses on Monday talked at length about Rodriguez’ father’s alcoholism and violent behavior.

    Little of the testimony has been about Rodriguez or related to him.

    Rodriguez’ appellate attorneys claim the evidence about his father, if presented at trial, could possibly have reduced some of Rodriguez’ culpability.

    However, Rodriguez’ father himself told jurors at trial he was a violent drunk but that he doubted his actions made his son a murderer.

    http://lubbockonline.com/crime-and-c...e#.T41AdNlX-uI
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  10. #10
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    Rodriguez appeal resumes after hiatus

    Death row inmate Rosendo Rodriguez was back in a Lubbock courtroom Monday to resume an appeal hearing on hold since April.
    Rodriguez was convicted in 2008 in the death of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin, who was 10 weeks pregnant.

    Her body was found in a suitcase in the city's landfill. Rodriguez also is accused of murdering 16-year-old Joanna Rogers and disposing of her body in a similar manner.

    His appeal claims ineffective counsel during the investigation, trial, and previous appeals.

    Appellate attorney Rusty Wall testified Rodriguez's first lawyer allowed the defendant to give a statement to police without investigating the allegations against his client. Wall also said the trial attorneys abandoned a motion to suppress Rodriguez's confession.

    http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/loc..._JPBiEnSA.cspx
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

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