Convicted stalker loses another motion for a new trial

2012-11-14T12:05:00Z 2012-11-14T12:41:36Z Convicted stalker loses another motion for a new trialBy Kim Smith ARIZONA DAILY STAR Arizona Daily Star
November 14, 2012 12:05 pm  • 

Leo Rodriguez broke began sobbing Tuesday afternoon when Judge Paul Tang told him he won't be getting another chance to convince a jury of his innocence.

The 37-year-old is facing more than 35 years in prison for stalking an old girlfriend. 

He was indicted in October 2009 on 68 felony charges including stalking, trafficking in the identity of another, computer tampering and aggravated harassment/domestic violence.

After he was indicted on similar charges the following year, he disappeared and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Prosecutor Julie Sottosanti didn't wait for him to get caught. She took the first case to trial in August 2011 while Rodriguez remained a fugitive and got convictions on 65 of the 68 counts.

His attorney, Rafael Gallego, filed a motion for a new trial, saying Rodriguez was "involuntarily" absent from his trial because the victim's family and friends threatened to kill him and had actually kidnapped and beat him at one point.

It was denied.

Rodriguez got caught back in May and Gallego filed another motion for a new trial.

This time, Gallego said his client's rights were violated because Gallego was never told one of the detectives on the case was disciplined for not analyzing Rodriguez's computer and writing a report in a timely manner.

Sottosanti said the detective's troubles were irrelevant because another detective completed the analysis and testified at the trial.

On Tuesday, Judge Tang agreed and scheduled Rodriguez's sentencing for Jan. 22.

During Rodriguez's trial, Sottosanti presented evidence Rodriguez continually violated an order of protection by repeatedly following, texting and phoning his former girlfriend over a six-month period.

Evidence also was presented that he assaulted her sister, used a Tucson Police Department officer to track her and her relatives down, and accessed her phone account without permission.

Although the texts came anonymously from prepaid phones, the phones were linked to Rodriguez, in part, from the context. Some pleaded with the victim to resume their relationship, others were rage-filled rants filled with sexual slurs and threats.

By the way, Rodriguez called me a couple of times while on the lam.

We'll find out the status of the second case against Rodriguez on the day of his sentencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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