State responds to convicted murderer's request for stay of execution

Rosendo Rodriguez. (Source: TDCJ)
Rosendo Rodriguez. (Source: TDCJ)
Updated: Feb. 26, 2018 at 5:11 PM CST
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LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - The state has responded to convicted murderer Rosendo Rodriguez III's motion for a stay of execution, although the court has not officially ruled on the motion.

Rodriguez is scheduled to be executed on March 27, 2018.

Last week, Rodriguez's attorneys asked for additional time to investigate accusations regarding Lubbock County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Sridhar Natarajan.

Rodriguez's attorneys cited a civil lawsuit filed in 2015 by Dr. Luisa Florez under the Texas Whistleblower Act.

In the lawsuit, she claimed Dr. Natarajan was not conducting his autopsies, instead delegating the "cutting, removal of tissue and organs, and collection of forensic evidence to technicians who were not licensed or trained doctors or forensic pathologists."

Dr. Natarajan and Lubbock County settled the lawsuit on November 7, 2017, paying Dr. Florez the sum of $230,000.

The motion claims that Lubbock County District Attorney Matt Powell was aware of this lawsuit and failed to disclose it to Rodriguez, which his attorneys argue is a Brady violation.

In the state's response, Powell argues there has been no Brady violation because it does not apply to the post-conviction context and the evidence is not material.

"Any allegations within the lawsuit are not relevant to determining how Dr. Natarajan ran the Medical Examiner's Office on September 13-14, 20005. In fact, Dr. Florez could not provide any relevant information about how the office was run in September of 2005 since the office Dr. Florez worked for in 2013 to 2015 was under a different organizational structure than the one Dr. Natarajan operated in September of 2015."

Powell said, "...multiple portions of the record make it clear that Dr. Natarajan personally performed the autopsy in this case."

The court has not ruled on the motion.

Kretzer said he is going to request a hearing in state court, and will soon file a motion to stay in the court of criminal appeals.

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