10:17A.M. September 13th, 2005.
A sanitation worker found the body of 29-year-old Summer Baldwin stuffed into a suitcase at the Lubbock County Landfill. An autopsy showed blunt force trauma to the head caused her death. It also revealed she was five weeks pregnant and may have been alive when she was stuffed in the suitcase.
Police tracked the barcode inside the suitcase to the Walmart on South Loop 289. And to a debit card belonging to then, 25-year-old Rosendo Rodriguez. Surveillance video showed him buying the suitcase and a pair of latex gloves. Investigators also tracked his debit card to the Holiday Inn Civic Center where traces of Baldwin's blood were found inside a hotel room.
On September 11, 2005 just two days before her body was found, witnesses say they saw Baldwin alive with Rodriguez at a Lubbock convenience store. Just two days after the gruesome discovery, Lubbock authorities announced they had their man. Authorities arrested Rodriguez, the son of a lawyer, at his father's home in San Antonio. A DPS plane flew him back to Lubbock.
A month later he was charged with the capital murder of Summer Baldwin. Then in December of 2005, investigators linked Rodriguez to missing Lubbock teen Joanna Rogers through information found on their computers. The 16-year-old had not been seen since May of 2004.
A month later, in January 2006, these cases hit the national media. Nancy Grace devoted nearly an entire show to missing women in Lubbock and spoke with Lubbock County Sheriff David Gutierrez. Because of the CNN coverage, Lubbock county Judge Jim Bob Darnell placed a gag order over the entire case.
In October of 2006, attorney's from the defense and prosecution worked out a plea deal saying because Rodriguez admitted to killing both women, he would receive a maximum penalty of life in prison, not the death penalty. But later, shocking his attorney's and all involved, Rodriguez refused to enter a guilty plea saying he didn't understand the agreement. In response, the prosecution said they would seek the death penalty.
The body of Joanna Rogers was found in a suitcase in the land fill where Baldwin's body was found nearly two years earlier. After two attempts to keep the trial in Lubbock county, Judge Darnell granted a change of venue to Canyon in Randall county.
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