A Texas convict is making a last-ditch effort to avoid execution on March 27, but the outcome is looking pretty dire for him. Rosendo Rodriguez, who is known in Texas as "the suitcase killer" for raping and murdering a pregnant woman in 2005, cramming her body in a suitcase, and throwing it in a landfill, made a last-minute appeal with the US Supreme Court just hours before his execution.
Rodriguez's lawyers appealed his death sentence on the grounds that the medical examiner's testimony wasn't credible enough and that Summer Baldwin, the victim who was 10 weeks pregnant, wasn't actually sexually assaulted. Police determined that the injuries on Baldwin's body were consistent with sexual assault, while Rodriguez insists he had consexual sex with Summer. He said she was a prostitute, and that he accidentally killed her when they began arguing. The sexual assault charge is what got him the death penalty.
"[This is] nothing more than a last-ditch effort," Assistant Texas Attorney General Tomee Heining told KTRK-TV after the appeal was filed. Rodriguez actually could have avoided the death penalty with a plea deal where he would admit to killing a 16-year-old girl also found in a suitcase in the Lubbock landfill, and though he admitted it and told them where her body is, he later backed out of the deal.
Rodriguez was also implicated in five other sexual assault cases, and many want to see him dead. "Who sticks a human being in a suitcase and throws them out with the trash?" said Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney Matt Powell to the Texas Tribune. This was a guy that, left unchecked, was going to hurt somebody else again and was going to continue to terrorize women." Only time will tell if he survives the night or not.