A San Antonio man who had just turned 38 was executed earlier this week in Texas in connection with the murder of a 29-year-old Lubbock woman who had been stuffed naked into a new suitcase that had been purchased at a local Walmart. CBS News reports that both surveillance videos and an investigation into the debit card used to purchase the suitcase were traced back to the convicted murderer. Rosendo Rodriguez, III purchased the suitcase, and a barcode label that was sewn into the suitcase traced the purchase back to him. Workers at a Lubbock landfill found the suitcase and the victim’s body parts stuffed inside. She may have been jammed into the suitcase when she was still alive. At the time, Rodriguez had been in Lubbock for training as a Marine reservist. The victim was 10 weeks pregnant.
Rodriguez also confessed to the sexual assault and murder of a 16-year-old girl. Her mummified remains were found in another suitcase in the same Lubbock landfill about a year earlier. Rodriguez was subsequently labeled the “suitcase killer.” He was described by the Lubbock County District Attorney as “very cold-blooded and very calculated.” Rodriguez was the fourth convict in Texas to be executed in 2018. He was the seventh in the United States. A spokesman for the Office of the Texas Attorney General remarked that the final appeal of Rodriguez was a “last ditch effort.” Rodriguez purported that he killed his last victim in self-defense after having consensual sex in a hotel room where she pulled a knife on him. Regardless of the fact that the evidence in the case showed about 50 blunt force trauma wounds to the victim, Rodriguez persisted in his defense.
In the penalty phase of the case, five women testified as to Rodriguez raping them, and jurors also heard about his confession to murdering the 16-year-old who he encountered in an online chat room. Rodriguez died defiantly with his last words consisting of a seven minute statement proclaiming his innocence. He was pronounced dead 22 minutes after being administered a powerful sedative known as pentobarbital. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal shortly before he was executed.