Thanks to the help of technology and forensic science, a third-strike candidate is now facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the May 30, 2011 homicide of Milpitas resident Alfredo Rodriguez.
David Paul Rodriguez, 44, of North San Jose, was taken into custody one day after Milpitas police found Rodriguez lying on the ground in the 1400 block of S. Main Street suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. While the suspect and victim share the same last name, it is not believed they are related.
The Milpitas Police Department says Rodriguez, a parolee, was identified as a suspect in the homicide after following several leads, using technology to locate him, and using ballistics to connect him to the crime.
“The leads were basically just tracking down the cell phone information,” Milpitas Police Sgt. Bill King told the Milpitas Post. “We looked at the calls from the victim’s telephone.”
King says a motive for the shooting has not yet been established.
A witness told police he and Alfredo Rodriguez were headed to Jerry’s Market on S. Main Street to meet a drug dealer they knew only as “BB.” The witness said Alfredo Rodriguez crossed the street to meet an arriving vehicle, a silver Honda Civic coupe. He reportedly got into the vehicle, which made a U-turn to pull in front of Jerry’s. As Alfredo Rodriguez exited the vehicle, the witness said, there were several popping sounds. The witness said he saw driver closing the passenger-side door and Alfredo Rodriguez taking a few steps before collapsing.
King said it was determined that Alfredo Rodriguez was shot in the back with a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Further investigation revealed that “BB” was in custody at the time of the shooting. He was contacted in Santa Clara County Jail and told Milpitas police he allowed David Rodriguez to use his cell phone to sell narcotics.
Milpitas is located in the Silicon Valley and it was Silicon Valley technology that allowed police to locate David Rodriguez. Investigators used Google Latitude, a mobile application that showed that “BB’s” cell phone was in the 1400 block of S. Main Street at the time of the shooting.
U.S. Marshals located David Rodriguez in the Honda Civic and took him into custody in the parking lot of an apartment complex near East Capitol Expressway. They conducted a search of the suspect and his vehicle and located methamphetamine, a small-caliber handgun, and “BB’s” cell phone.
Criminalists were able to link the bullet retrieved from Alfredo Rodriguez’ body and match it to the handgun found in the suspect’s vehicle, according to a police statement of facts.
Rodriguez has been behind bars since his arrest. The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office officially filed first-degree murder charges against him on July 1. That charge, coupled with an enhancement of intentionally firing a handgun causing someone’s death, means David Rodriguez faces up to 50 years in prison – 25 years for each charge, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch said. Since David Rodriguez already has a strike on his record, a charge of voluntary manslaughter, he could face an additional 100 years in jail.
Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (408) 586-2500.