The capital murder trial of Rosendo Rodriguez III continued Monday with character witnesses in the punishment phase. First though, Judge Jim Bob Darnell decided that Rodriguez confession of the 2004 murder of Joanna Rogers could not be heard by the jury due to state law. Instead of presenting the confession, the prosecution relayed to the jury, through an FBI agent and Joanna's father, that the last time Joanna was seen alive was the same night cell phone records confirm Rodriguez called Rogers at 3:00 am. The jury was left to make their own assumptions as to the rest of the story.
The day continued with testimony from the Rodriguez family. Rosendo III's aunt, mother, sister and father all took the stand. Each testified that Rosendo III grew up watching his alcoholic father beat his mother and two sisters. Rosendo III's father confirmed this when he took the stand. The defense used this to suggest Rosendo III's violent behavior and lack of respect towards women was caused by the abuse, but the jury will have to decide the relevance of that argument.
Closing statements are expected to begin Tuesday morning.