Day 3: Gonzalez grocery trial
July 7, 2010 · Print This Article
By Brad Dicken
Chronicle – Telegram editor
ELYRIA – Decio Rodrigues changed his story several times while he was being interviewed about the botched Jan. 25, 2008, robbery that left Lorain shop-keeper Jose Gonzalez dead, Lorain police Detective Dennis Moskal testified Tuesday during the third day of Rodrigues’ capital murder trial.
Decio Rodrigues in court last week. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)
After his arrest by Lorain police the day after the robbery, Rodrigues denied having anything to do with Gonzalez’s death, but did admit to going to Gonzalez Grocery on the corner of Lexington Avenue and West 26th Street, Moskal said.
At one point during their conversation, Moskal said, Rodrigues said he had been there the day of the robbery and at another point that he had been there the day before.
A third time, Rodrigues said he had been there both days, Moskal said.
“He did say he was their best customer and they would know him there,” Moskal said.
Rodrigues is accused of going into the store about 1-0 a. m. on the day of the robbery armed with a car jack handle to rob the store on the day Gonzalez kept the most cash on hand so he could cash paychecks for regular customers.
Attorneys for Rodrigues have argued that he didn’t mean to kill the shopkeeper.
Instead, they contend, Gonzalez was shot four times after he pulled a 5shot .38caliber revolver and got into a struggle for the gun with Rodrigues.
Prosecutors have countered with witnesses who have said Rodrigues talked to them about robbing the store both before and after Gonzalez was killed.
Moskal said video surveillance of the store showed the entire robbery appeared to have taken less then a minute.
In one still image taken from the poor-quality video, he said Gonzalez can be seen struggling with a man armed with a long object.
When Rodrigues was arrested, he had $1,210 on him, Moskal said, and after he was brought back to the station a picture of him appears to show Rodrigues taking a nap as he waited to be interviewed.
Also testifying Tuesday were two analysts from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Analyst Martin Lewis said a gunshot residue test performed on Gonzalez showed that the storekeeper had been near a gun before he died.
Another analyst, Matthew White, testified that the .38-caliber revolver that was left at the scene – and belonged to Gonzalez – was the weapon that killed Gonzalez.
Defense attorneys did not call any witnesses Tuesday, and closing arguments in the case are scheduled for this morning before the three-judge panel that is hearing the case instead of a jury.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.