After waiting to hear what happened, I finally received news of the sentencing hearing yesterday. Here’s the update from the DA:
“The newly appointed defense attorney filed a “Motion for New Trial” yesterday. He is essentially claiming “Ineffective Assistance of Counsel” as his basis for the motion. So . . . the sentencing was continued to April 22 at which time he will argue the motion. He claims he will have a couple witnesses, including the defendant, testify at the hearing. We will file an opposition to the motion for new trial and cross examine any witnesses that may take the stand in that regard.”
I was hoping this update would bring good news and reason to celebrate. Instead, I’m feeling disappointed and am really struggling to believe that this trial is going to end soon. I just want to move on with my life, but am concerned that the defense is going to win the motion and I’ll have to go through the entire trial process again. I’m striving to cling to the words & scripture that Fr. Agustino CFR continually reminded me in our conversation yesterday: “Do NOT be afraid, TRUST & cover yourself in prayer!”
Thank you to all of you who have been praying so faithfully for me, my recovery, this trial and for the defendant. I don’t know how I would survive without the incredible love and grace that comes from all your prayers! Please pray that I can have peace and accept the outcome of yesterday’s hearing. And please continue to pray for the defendant that she may come to know the incredible love, mercy & forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This morning I finally gave my Victim’s Impact Statement! I wasn’t too nervous since I had some amazing support with me in the courtroom and in spirit. My friend Scott who is an attorney was there and gave me a lot of great advice for addressing the judge and the defendant as well as reminded me that our Blessed Mother was there with me. The district attorney who worked on my case during the preliminary hearing was also there and was also very encouraging. All of your prayers calmed my nerves and gave me the strength to stand up and speak. I’m so grateful for all the love, prayers and support you all have given to me during this difficult time!
Since the defendant has a new attorney (who finally showed up this morning!) the sentencing hearing and their appeal for a new trial has been continued to March of next year so he can have time to read the trial transcript and figure whether they will request a new trial, and, if so, on what grounds. Even though the Defendant’s legal maneuvering delayed her sentencing – again – the judge allowed me to deliver my victim’s impact statement since I flew all the way from Michigan to do so. During the hearing the defendant was busy smiling at her friend and family member who were there whispering to her and taking pictures of her in court until the Bailiff took their camera phone away. The defendant was very callous and nonchalant about what was going on, often smiling. She did, however, listen intensely while I spoke. After I finished she wanted to make a statement of her own, and asked the judge if she could do so. The judge was going to allow the exception (since she made one for me) all the while cautioning her and her attorney that anything she said could still be used against her. In the end she decided not to speak. While this was happening, one of the defendant’s family members turned around to me and gestured for me to pass my info to him! I was shocked since neither she nor her family are allowed to have any contact with me. When we left the courtroom her family member and friend were trying to stay very close to us, listen to us, and intimidate us. They were speaking very loud trying to get my attention and were waiting around for my attorneys and friends to leave probably so they could approach me. My attorneys and friends who were there were all tall (except for Irene the DA for the preliminary hearing) and shielded me from them. We had to move down the hall but the defendant’s family members still followed us and the DA even blocked the elevator until the door closed. Thankfully, a police officer was also in the elevator with us. This trial just keep getting crazier & crazier!!! But everyone there said my impact statement was effective and everything went well. The judge paid close attention to what I was saying and appeared moved when I told her about what it was like being cut in the hospital, and how much pain I still feel today. Here is what I said (as much as I can remember):
My Victim’s Impact Statement:
Good morning your honor. My name is Rosario Rodriguez. I would like to share with you how the events of June 29th have affected my life and then say a few words to the defendant. On June 29th I was robbed and shot in the chest by the defendant. The bullet missed my heart by one centimeter. The fragments of the bullet hit my lungs and they collapsed. It crossed my chest and tore my esophagus. I nearly died. I was rushed into surgery. They took muscle from my side and used it to patch my esophagus. The surgery took 8 hours. After I got out of surgery I could barely keep my jaw up on my own I was so weak. The days in the hospital I was in intense pain and very week. When I was released I couldn’t walk on my own and everyone had to do every thing for me. As you can see I’ve come a long way. But I’m still in constant pain from my incision. There is a lot I still can’t do. I can’t lift my luggage or carry bags that are too heavy. I can’t reach for things high in a cupboard. I’m still not yet fully independent and have to rely on others for many things. I’m in intense physical therapy and as I’m worked on tears from the pain stream down my face.
To the defendant: I want you to know that I have forgiven you for what you have done to me but I hope and pray that you come to take responsibility for your actions. I hope you realize that you nearly killed me. That your actions didn’t just nearly took my life but they affected many people… my family, friends and people from all over the world. Many times as I hold my cousin’s baby I think that you were one centimeter away from my cousin only telling her baby stories about me and that she may not have ever known me. You could have caused my parents so much pain if they had to bury me in the ground. I hope you can come to realize just how much your actions affect other people and know that what you did was wrong and come to change your life. Like I said I do forgive you and I pray for you every day that you may come to know the incredible love, mercy & forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This Friday, Dec.10th is the sentencing hearing and I will be making a victim’s impact statement. Please pray that I will have peace and clarity and that I will be guided by The Holy Spirit to articulate whatever He wants me to. That the words I speak will move the judges heart to give a very long sentence. As well as move the defendant’s heart, mind & soul! Please continue to pray for her conversion, that she may come to know the incredible Love, Mercy & Forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I also ask for prayers of provision! I arrive in Los Angeles this Wednesday the 8th and as of now I still don’t have a place to stay or someone to pick me up from LAX! Yikes! Striving to trust that God WILL provide in His time!
Thank you & please know…. I pray for everyone who’s praying for me everyday! You’re especially lifted up in prayer at daily Mass.
God is Sovereign! ~Rosario Rodriguez
*UPDATE* Thanks for all the prayers!!! I JUST found a place to stay!!! Woo-hooo!!!! Thanks St. Francis Xavier & ‘friends’! God IS Sovereign!!!
This Thursday (Oct 7th) is a Pre-Trial. The defendant is being retried after one of the counts she was charged with resulted in a hung jury. Please continue to pray that justice be served and that the defendant comes to know the great love, mercy & forgiveness of Our Lord.
Special prayers for her please as this day is the Feast of Our Lady of The Rosary! (My name day!) Thanks!
Depending on the outcome of the pre-trial I could be flying back out to LA soon to testify at the trial. I arrived back home late Monday evening and am still suffering from jet lag which isn’t at all usual for me. I very rarely am jet lagged but I think it’s because of all the emotion and stress from the trip that has my head spinning and heavy and I am completely exhausted.
I’m also still waiting to hear from the District Attorney when the sentencing hearing will take place from the charges she was found guilty on. I really want to attend the sentencing and address the judge and the defendant. Unfortunately, I can’t afford it so please pray that God will provide me with the means to attend and be heard. Thanks!
(I’m completely exhausted & my head is spinning so if I sound short or incoherent, that’s why!)
Our Lady of The Rosary, Pray for us!
Our Lady of The Rosary
St. Philomena, Pray for us!
I testified this afternoon. It was hard and there were tears but thanks to your prayers I was able to focus and answer the questions as truthfully and as best as I could. Thank you a MILLION TIMES for your prayers!!! I couldn’t have gotten through this without all the grace and peace that came from them!!!
I’m on call but the District Attorney doesn’t think I’ll be called back. Thankfully I can leave the building as well as downtown. I just can’t leave Los Angeles until the trial is over.
Thanks again for all the prayers!!! I’m so grateful for each and every one of them!!!
I received an email from the District Attorney last night saying that they hadn’t finished selecting a jury but hope to do so this morning. If they do I will be testifying this afternoon. I’m to be at the court today at noon. Please, please, please pray that I can have peace and strength during all this! I’m also still praying that she plead guilty this morning!!!
Thanks everyone! I’ll let you know what happens.
Filed under Prayer, Trial