You could have heard a pin drop in the courtroom as the sentence was handed down. Tuesday's final proceedings started with the reading of the courts charge and ended with Rosendo Rodriguez starting his journey from Canyon to death row. In between we heard the closing statements from the prosecution and defense. Then the jury deliberated from 10 o'clock in the morning until 1:39 in the afternoon. Not a minute later the judge said Rosendo Rodriguez would be put to death, a decision Summer Baldwin's mother Uvah Robak has waited years to hear.
"I believe that justice has been served today," Robak said. Baldwin's family and the parents of Joanna Rogers along with the states team, district attorney Matt Powell and Assistant D.A. Trey Payne spoke to the media for nearly a half hour.
"There's nothing good about this day. I can't wait for the day when we never have to have a press conference like this but, with all that said you guy's hear me say it all the time and I'm a huge believer in it, I truly believe justice was done today," Powell said.
After the sentence was handed down, and during the victim impact statements, the jury heard, for the first time, that Rosendo Rodriguez confessed to killing Joanna Rogers, stuffing her body into a suitcase and just like summer Baldwin's, throwing her away.
"It's not exactly closure but it is resolution," said Joe Bill Rogers, Joanna's father.
"Thank God it's happened. I'm so thankful for the jury doing the job that they did," added Joanna's mother, Kathy.
We also learned the Baldwins and Rogers families knew each other before Summer was killed by Rodriguez. And they met while Joe Bill Rogers was searching for his daughter Joanna. "His daughter missing and then mine murdered to find his daughter, How can we say that," said Robak.
But are these Rosendo Rodriguez's only victims? Matt Powell says he is not ruling out Rodriguez's connection to other missing women. "We're going to look at anything we can to try to get unsolved cases solved. But right now we can close the chapter on two cases," said Powell.
"I don't believe anyone can say the word hate until you've run into somebody like this that is evil. Then you learn what true hate is," said Robak.
"He himself put himself in this position today, nobody else. His decision's and his choice, nobody else," added Powell.
Rosendo Rodriguez is incarcerated at the Lubbock county jail. He will however see one more court room before he head's to death row. This week the official sentencing from Judge Jim Bob Darnell will be handed down before he is taken to death row where, aside from any appeals, he will remain until he is put to death for the capital murder of Summer Baldwin's and her un-born baby boy.
|Courts & Crime|