The second of three men who bound, beat and killed a gay Houston man in his home after picking him up from a Montrose bar was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his role in the grizzly crime.
A jury convicted Luis Carlos Rodriguez, 36, of capital murder on Sept. 4, more than eight years after he and two others robbed and brutally murdered Arnulfo Aguilar in his Sugar Land home on May 28, 2006 after they met at the Montrose Mining Company.
Even after his conviction, Rodriguez showed no remorse, according to KTRK.
“The jury's verdict represents justice for Arnulfo Aguilar and his family,” stated [Assistant District Attorney Stuti] Patel. “And when it was their turn to address the court, the defendant made derogatory and vulgar gestures towards them. Despite his lack of remorse, I admire the Aguilar family for their faith and forgiveness of such a horrible crime.”
Police said Rodriguez and two other men hogtied Aguilar with a dog leash, nylon cord, knotted TV cable and neckties and beat him with a blunt object, ransacked his home and stole his SUV, according to Outsmart.
Houston police arrested Alberto Ramos, then 17, during a traffic stop on June 16, 2006 as he drove Aguilar's Jeep Cherokee, less than three weeks after the murder, according to the Fort Bend Herald. Friends found Aguilar dead inside his Sugar Land him after he missed an event he planned to attend.
Ramos implicated Rodriguez and a third man, Alonso Guerra. Rodriguez was arrested on Feb. 23, 2007. Guerra remains at large.
In 2008, Ramos pleaded guilty to murder days before a trial on a charge of capital murder. He received a 15-year prison sentence. Prosecutors agreed to the plea over concerns that Ramos' confession might be thrown out, according to the Herald.
Ramos was expected to testify against Rodriguez in his trial, but told prosecutors that his confession was a lie and that he was on drugs when he made statements about the case, according to Outsmart.
Rodriguez moved to suppress his confession and a video of it was lost several years ago. In the statement, he says he punched Aguilar, beat him with a bat, broke his nose and helped tie him up. But a judge allowed copy of the tape and an English translation to be admitted as evidence.
An attorney for Rodriguez said he will appeal the conviction, according to Outsmart.
The defendant’s attorney, James A. Stevens of Richmond, said that it’s obvious from the English translation of Rodriguez’s confession in Spanish that he didn’t “knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily” waive his Miranda rights. Several times in the interview with police, Stevens explained, Rodriguez asked, “Where’s the attorney?” and his question was ignored by interrogators.
Stevens also hinted at a gay panic defense, suggesting that the killers didn't pick Aguilar up at the gay bar to rob him.
“It’s a little confusing,” he said. “Basically, they said ‘We did this, but it just kind of happened.’ Another thing is that they seemed to have been at the scene for an extended period of time, maybe an hour or more, because it appears that they drank wine and ate popcorn. If you’re following someone home to rob him, you do it as soon as the coast is clear. All indications are that the parties were there awhile before any robbery happened.”