In a recent announcement, Ellis County and District Attorney Ann Montgomery revealed that on November 2, 2023, 42-year-old Richard Rodriguez, a resident of Midlothian, Texas, pleaded guilty and was subsequently sentenced to 40 years in prison for multiple charges, including Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Assault Family Violence Impeding Breath with a Previous Conviction, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. Rodriguez's trial was scheduled to begin on November 6, 2023, but he opted to plead guilty before it commenced.
The charges stemmed from a series of violent incidents that occurred between March 2020 and April 2021 when Rodriguez repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend. During this period, he subjected her to physical beatings, strangulation, and threats involving deadly weapons, such as knives and firearms. It's important to note that, as a convicted felon, Rodriguez was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm. The victim, fearing for her life, installed security cameras around their residence, which captured evidence of several of these assaults.
Richard Rodriguez had a troubling history of violent offenses, which included prior felony convictions related to assaulting and strangling the same victim, as well as burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit assault. He also had a conviction for assaulting a police officer. Due to his previous felony convictions, the punishment range for his recent offenses was increased to a minimum of 25 years in prison.
Montgomery emphasized the hidden nature of intimate partner violence, which often occurs behind closed doors. Abusers typically utilize power and control to ensnare their victims in a cycle of violence. She commended the victim for her courage in documenting the repeated abuse, reporting it to law enforcement, and ultimately freeing herself from the dangerous cycle.
The case was prosecuted by Felony prosecutors Kayce Witt and Ashley Indelicato, with assistance from County and District Attorney Investigator Steve Adams, felony clerk Jenny Wilhoite, and Victim Assistance Coordinator Jamie Morales. The investigation was conducted by Detective Erin Blust of the Midlothian Police Department.