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"Suitcase killer" executed for 2005 murder

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A Wichita Falls man has now become the fourth person executed in Texas this year.

Rosendo Rodriguez, III, 38, was executed Tuesday evening in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a woman whose body was found in suitcases in a landfill in Lubbock in the early 2000s.

In 2006, Rodriguez rejected a plea deal which would have given him life in prison.

Rodriguez was convicted in 2008 of the beating and choking death of pregnant Summer Baldwin, 29, from Lubbock.

Baldwin's body was found in the fall of 2005 by a landfill worker.

Quickly, investigators were able to arrest Rodriguez, a visiting Marine, for the murder after linking the purchased suitcase back to his credit card.

Later, the district attorney's office recognized Rodriguez's name as a previous person of interest in the disappearance case of Joanna Rogers, 16, in 2004.

Police linked Rodriguez to five other sexual assaults and say he confessed to the murder of Joanna Rogers.

Initially, the district attorney and defense entered a plea agreement where Rodriguez agreed to confess to both murders in exchange for a life sentence, but when it came for the guilty plea, Rodriguez refused.

The trial went on as normal, and eventually, a jury sentenced him to death.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied Rodriguez's stay of execution Tuesday evening.

After several unsuccessful attempts to avoid the death penalty by Rodriguez's defense team, Rodriguez was set to be executed.

Witnesses to the execution include Rodriguez's mother, sister and friends, Rogers' parents and brother and Baldwin's mother and aunt.

By now, Baldwin's child would've been a teenager and Rogers would've been in her 30s.


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