Michael Whetstone pleaded guilty Wednesday to the August 2010 murder of Stanley Rodriguez. He was sentenced to 45 years with credit for time served.
Rodriguez was found dead inside his car parked near MLK and east Canyon Lake Drive on August 4th. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Family and friends told Whetstone in the courtroom that he broke their family unity and left Rodriguez's three boys without a father. They explained they forgive him, but they want him to think about what he did every single day he sits in prison. Whetstone wiped his tears as he listened. He told KCBD that he wants to tell the family he is sorry.
Rodriguez was buried on his 35th birthday. It took nearly a year and a half to get justice. Before the police found the killer, Rodriguez's mother Victoria Benavides walked around the Canyon Lakes System for her slain son.
Less than two weeks later police had two key pieces of evidence to solve the murder. Two witnesses heard the gunshot and saw a truck drive away. They also notice Rodriguez's wallet and cell phone were missing.
Michael Whetstone, 23, and Michael Lewis, 23, were arrested shortly after. Police found the pistol and bullets that matched those recovered at the scene in Whetstone's apartment. They also found Rodriguez's phone which Whetstone used days after the murder.
Lewis later told police, Whetstone met him at Villa Town Motel to set up a robbery. In court documents he goes on to say before Whetstone opened fire, he demanded money.
Whetstone is eligible for parole after serving half his sentence.
Lewis is also charged with murder. His trial is set for March 26, 2012.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11