'Suitcase Killer' To Be Executed For Murdering Woman And Girl Who Were Discovered In Luggage
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Rosendo Rodriguez, who was dubbed the 'suitcase killer' after murdering and disposing of the corpses of two women, is set to be executed.
Ten-weeks-pregnant Summer Baldwin was murdered in 2005. Her naked, beaten body was found by an employee at the Lubbock city (just over an hour east of the New Mexico border) landfill. Her body was stuffed inside the bag, which Rodriguez discarded at a city dump.
Investigators were able to determine Rodriguez, from Wichita County, Texas, as the culprit after using a barcode label sewn into the bag, tracing the purchase back to a Walmart store, and checking debit card records and store surveillance video.
Rodriguez, a Marine reservist from San Antonio, was in the city for training. He is due to be executed at 6pm on March 28, a day after his 38th birthday.
As CBS news reports, he was also linked to five other sexual assaults and confessed to the killing of a 16-year-old Joanna Rogers, who had been missing for over a year.
She was also found in a suitcase at a landfill site, leading Rodriguez to be dubbed the 'suitcase killer'.
Rodriguez was described by County District Attorney Matt Powell as 'very cold-blooded and very calculated'.
Powell said: "What kind of person does that, just throws them out like the morning trash?"
Rodriguez still has a final appeal pending with the US Supreme court. The Texas Tribune notes that his appeal questions the credibility of the medical examiner's testimony in the Baldwin case which states that she was sexually assaulted.
His lawyers also say the coroner had recently settled a lawsuit alleging that he delegated duties to unqualified underlings, which 'bears directly on the credibility and admissibility of the medical examiner's testimony in this case'.
However, court records reportedly show that the medical examiner did personally conduct Baldwin's autopsy.
After Baldwin's body was found, Rodriguez was arrested at his parents' home and taken into custody. He testified that he'd killed Baldwin in self-defence after she pulled a knife on him on September 12, 2005, at a hotel room in the city. He also said the two had had consensual sex.
At the 2008 trial, it was revealed that Baldwin had 50 blunt force wounds and might have still been alive when she was folded into the suitcase, with the possibility being raised that she was killed by a trash compactor.
Witness evidence from five women who testified that Rodriguez had raped them assisted in him being convicted of two murders, and ultimately sentenced to death.