Capital murder trial starts this week in 2019 death of 79-year-old Celestino Rodriguez

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Opening statements are expected to start Tuesday morning at the Lubbock County Courthouse in the capital murder trial of David Hampton. He’s accused of robbing 79-year old Celestino Rodriguez, beating him to death and leaving him in a field in 2019.

He will be the first of six defendants related to the case to see a judge. Jury selection was underway Monday afternoon. Hampton’s charge was upgraded in May, just weeks before his first court appearance related to the case. The Lubbock County District Attorney’s office did not file for the death penalty, so Hampton faces life in prison without parole if he is convicted.

In early August of 2019, Rodriguez’s family reported him missing. Several days later, his car was found in Temple, Texas.

That’s when Toby Daughtry and Amanda Blagburn come in. On August 13, police arrested them for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The warrant states they told officers Hampton gave them the car, and they ditched it after hearing Rodriguez was reported missing.

Daughtry said Hampton told him they had beaten an old man, left him in the country outside Lubbock and taken the car.

Police then began their search for Hampton and Brett Garza - their use of Rodriguez’s credit card linking them to him. Hampton was arrested in Abilene, Garza in Lubbock.

Garza told police Heather Casias knew Rodriguez and about a government check he was expecting. After the three plotted the robbery, Garza says Casias lured the victim to a planned location. The two men assaulted him while she watched and reportedly moved his body to a cotton field in west Lubbock County.

Later, court documents show Garza, a man named Freddie Salinas, and another man moved his body again - this time near Abernathy. On August 15, Garza led police to find his body there.

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