A 34-year-old man who lived streamed himself greater than a 12 months in the past whereas main state troopers on a high-speed chase in a northeast Lubbock neighborhood was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in jail on the finish of a three-day trial.
Jurors deliberated for about an hour and 1/2 earlier than returning to the 137th District Court docket room with their verdict convicting Kain Rodriguez of evading arrest or detention in a automobile. Nonetheless, they didn’t discover that Rodriguez used his automobile as a lethal weapon, which may have aggravated his offense and required him to serve half of his sentence earlier than he can be eligible for parole.
Rodriguez opted for Choose John McClendon to find out his punishment.
Rodriguez has been held on the Lubbock County Detention Middle since his arrest on Nov. 20, 2020. Nonetheless, his cost stems from an April 5, 2019 chase that started when a Texas Division of Public Security trooper observed an expired license plate on Rodriguez’s pickup truck.
The trooper was the one witness prosecutors referred to as to the stand within the guilt-innocence section of the trial. Jurors additionally watched dashcam footage of trooper Alan Johnstone, which captured his pursuit of Rodriguez, who instantly sped away after the trooper activated his lights and sirens to drag over Rodriguez.
The trooper’s sprint cam by no means overlooked Rodriguez’s pickup, which might be seen weaving out and in of visitors, touring within the fallacious lanes and ignoring a number of cease indicators.
Rodriguez’s pickup might be seen crossing bar ditches, driving by way of parks and close to faculties at excessive speeds.
The trooper instructed jurors the chase reached as much as 80 mph because it snaked by way of residential streets the place individuals walked on sidewalks.
Prosecutors additionally confirmed them a video that Rodriguez live-streamed from his Fb account. Rodriguez begins the video winking into his digital camera, which gave the impression to be mounted on his dashboard. He instantly notices the trooper behind him as he approaches a pink gentle on the intersection of Marsha Sharp Freeway and I-27. He merges into the middle lane behind two different automobiles and the trooper stops on the entrance of the left lane. Rodriguez switched his digital camera view to indicate the trooper forward of him.
As soon as the sunshine turns inexperienced, the trooper waits for the center-lane visitors to cross him so he may drive behind Rodriguez, who was touring eastbound on Marsha Sharp. Within the pickup, Rodriguez continues to look at his rear-view mirror because the trooper will get behind him.
Rodriguez flashes a large smile when the trooper activated his lights and sirens, however Rodriguez continues driving.
“Rattling,” Rodriguez might be heard saying.
All through many of the pursuit, Rodriguez’s might be heard cursing however appeared amused as he continued to evade the trooper and jostled in his seat because the automobile drives off highway.
“Oh, that is good child,” Rodriguez might be heard as he drives his pickup by way of a park, which gave the impression to be empty.
Nonetheless, an expression of fear begins to clean over Rodriguez’s face as he realizes that he is unable to flee the trooper’s pursuit.
“(Expletive),” he tells his viewers. “This (expletive’s) on me. I can not lose him.”
In courtroom, Rodriguez bowed his head because the video from his social media account is performed to jurors.
In the meantime, Johnstone instructed jurars extra troopers joined the pursuit, which ended close to the intersection of Third Road and Elder Avenue the place Rodriguez’s pickup stalled and died.
In Rodriguez’s video, the defendant seems to hit a tough patch of highway that jostles him and rocks his telephone out of it is mount. Nonetheless, the video continued to document and Rodriguez might be heard unsuccessfully making an attempt to begin his truck once more as troopers within the background screamed at him to exit his automobile.
Rodriguez might be heard telling the troopers, who skilled their weapons at him, that his driver aspect door was jammed and requested them to cease pointing their weapons at him.
“I do not bought nothing,” he says. “I do not bought (expletive). I haven’t got nothing.”
The troopers ordered him to climb out by way of the window and Rodriguez picks up his telephone as he exits his automobile, telling his viewers, “I like you, guys.”
Rodriguez continued to document the episode as troopers order him to the bottom and the video ends with Rodriguez winking on the digital camera as soon as final time as he lays face down on the bottom.
Troopers pried the mobile phone from his hand and realized he’d been reside streaming the entire time.
Rodriguez’s lawyer, Nick Olguin, instructed jurors that it was clear his shopper was responsible of the evading cost. Nonetheless, he instructed them that prosecutors have been unfairly asking them to take a position about whether or not Rodriguez was utilizing his automobile as a lethal weapon.
He mentioned the proof at trial confirmed he shopper by no means misplaced management of his automobile and by no means struck an individual or property. He described the case in opposition to his shopper as a “victimless crime.”
“(Prosecutors) are actually asking you to take a position what may have occurred,” he mentioned. “I would like so that you can concentrate on what precisely occurred.”
Nonetheless, prosecutor Greg Jerman instructed jurors that Rodriguez’s actions put everybody who was out on the highway that day liable to loss of life or critical bodily damage.
“What he is saying is that we should not take this significantly till somebody is significantly injured.”
He mentioned Rodriguez’s overtly recorded his actions as he used his pickup truck as a lethal weapon as he tried to flee the trooper.
“He was making an attempt to lose that (trooper) and within the course he put numerous lives in danger,” he mentioned. “And we’re asking you to carry him accountable for that.”
Evading arrest with a automobile is a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years in jail. Nonetheless, Rodriguez confronted an enhanced punishment vary of 25 years to life in jail after prosecutors introduced the courtroom with Rodriguez’s prior convictions: a housebreaking of a habitation in 2007 and an evading arrest in 2012, to reinforce his dele. In each convictions, Rodriguez was sentenced to jail.
Rodriguez was additionally convicted of endangering a toddler by racing on a freeway with an unrestrained little one. He was additionally placed on juvenile probation when he was 13 however despatched to the Texas Youth Fee two years later.
The courtroom additionally watched video of Rodriguez’s habits after the crash throughout which he was combative with troopers, cursing at them, calling them “Nazis.”
As he struggled in opposition to troopers he began complaining about having bother respiration and commenced to dry heaving.
Paramedics have been referred to as to the scene and troopers instructed them that Rodriguez reportedly mentioned that he’d taken heroin.
One of many paramedics who handled Rodriguez instructed the courtroom that she administered Narcan, a drug counteracts opioids. Nonetheless, Rodriguez’s habits continued to escalate as he thrashed on the stretcher, hallucinate and challenged the Johnstone to struggle.
handed, the over-administered sedative to Rodriguez earlier than he was handed to the hospital the place he aspirated and was in a coma for about 5 days.
It was later found that Rodriguez was beneath the affect of artificial marijuana.
On the hospital, a psychologist evaluated Rodriguez, who mentioned he needed to cease utilizing medication, and advisable his switch to a substance abuse facility. Nonetheless, Rodriguez fled from the hospital two days later.
Rodriguez’s mom, who testified at his punishment listening to, instructed the courtroom that her son noticed that his made the information and that he was going to be arrested.
Rodriguez’s mom requested the courtroom for mercy saying her son was a great one who suffered from a drug habit that drove his legal habits.
She mentioned as a toddler, her son was negatively influenced by his father. In truth the judgment on Rodriguez juvenile legal case confirmed that his father contributed to his delinquent habits.
Olguin additionally referred to as on two jailers who described Rodriguez as a mannequin inmate who generally is a contributing member of the neighborhood.
A very long time neighbor of Rodriguez mentioned she insisted on testifying saying she believed the defendant was a great one who made a mistake.
Jerman instructed the courtroom that Rodriguez deserved a hefty sentence, saying his legal historical past confirmed he has squandered the state’s makes an attempt to rehabilitate him since he was 13.
He mentioned primarily based on his historical past, it is probably that Rodriguez will reoffend. Jerman instructed the courtroom primarily based on Rodriguez’s legal historical past, the courtroom’s punishment ought to concentrate on the protection of the neighborhood.
“He poses a hazard to the general public,” he mentioned. “He has for a very long time.”
Olguin requested the courtroom for a 25-year jail sentence, telling the courtroom that his shopper has made strides to enhance his life within the 22 months he is been incarcerated on the jail.
He mentioned his shopper was on a downward spiral the day he fled from the troopers. He mentioned his shopper’s legal habits was fueled by an habit to medication.
“He is not a violent particular person,” he mentioned. “He is an individual that may be redeemed. He is an individual that may be saved.”
McClendon instructed Rodriguez the prosecutors and his protection lawyer introduced compelling circumstances. Nonetheless, he instructed Rodriguez he believed the 25-year sentence was inappropriate.
“You’ve a sample or a historical past of issues occurring in automobiles that should not be occurring in any respect,” he mentioned. “Medication or not.”
After the decide pronounced his sentence, Rodriguez stood up and apologized to the courtroom, to regulation enforcement, his household and to the neighborhood.
He might be eligible for parole after service about 1/4 of his sentence.
This text initially appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Driver sentenced to 35 years for evading in a automobile