Carlos Rodriquez sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Zoe Campos

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 4:30 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A jury has sentenced 29-year-old Carlos Rodriquez to life in prison. He pleaded guilty to the 2013 murder of Zoe Campos at the start of the trial on Aug. 15. It took the jury 14 minutes to determine his sentence.

This is a developing story.

Zoe Campos
Zoe Campos

Trial notes from Day Two

Jurors and Campos’ family listened to Rodriquez’ confession tape for the first time. In the tape, he details the events that led to the murder, and how he murdered Campos and buried her body in his backyard.

The jurors also watched the body cam footage from LPD officers from the day that Rodriquez took detectives to his home to show them where Campos’ body was located. The prosecution also presented text messages between Campos and Rodriquez from the night she was murdered.

There was a heated exchange during the cross-examination of lead detective David Schreiber over how the case was handled. The defense claimed despite knowing the location of Campos’ body, Schreiber did not search the location for five months.

Trial notes from Day One

The courtroom was filled with Campos’ family, who listened to opening statements lay out a timeline of what happened after Zoe disappeared.

Zoe’s mother, Melinda Campos, took the stand and described what it was like to now know whether her daughter was dead or alive for five years, all while her remains were buried in Rodriquez’ backyard.

Detectives said Carlos Rodriquez was not a suspect early on in the investigation. They said he seemed calm when police originally searched the home where Zoe’s remains would later be located.

Zoe Campos Murder Timeline

On the evening of Nov 17, 2018, 18-year-old Zoe Campos was last seen on surveillance video with her sister at Copper Caboose Restaurant near Avenue Q.

After dinner, Zoe and her sister headed back to her apartment at 3532 50th Street. This was the last time any member of Zoe’s family saw her before she went missing in Nov of 2013. Police searched but found no leads in Campos’ disappearance for nearly five years.

A break in the case gave police a new reason to investigate 29-year-old Carlos Rodriquez.

Rodriquez and Campos were reportedly together the night she went missing. Although the police investigated him earlier in the investigation, he was eventually ruled out as a suspect.

New details in the case broke while Rodriquez was in jail for a different crime. He was convicted of stalking charges in November 2017 and was awaiting transportation to prison. The stalking conviction gave him a four-year sentence, which he has not yet served.

Police discovered Campos’ body buried in Rodriquez’ backyard in November of 2018, almost five years to the day from the time she was reported missing.

After being charged with Zoe’s murder, Rodriquez wrote a handwritten confession letter that he sent to KCBD in 2019. The letter detailed how he met Zoe on November 17, 2013, and felt an immediate attraction to her.

Rodriquez invited Zoe back to his home, where the two engaged in sexual acts and smoked cigarillos laced with K-2 synthetic marijuana.

In the letter, Rodriquez said he hallucinated that Zoe was a demon and attacked her. He wrapped his hands around her neck from behind and strangled her to death before burying her body in his backyard.

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