A jury convicted a Lompoc man accused of attempted murder in the stabbing of his then-pregnant girlfriend in 2014 of most charges against him Friday but found him not guilty of three critical charges that each carried mandatory life sentences.
Brian Rodriguez, 26, faced those three life sentences plus approximately 30 additional years for a July 2014 incident in which he drunkenly stabbed the victim repeatedly in front of children as the couple were visiting friends in Cambria, as well as six prior incidents in which Rodriguez repeatedly sliced and stabbed his girlfriend over perceived infidelity and threatenedher with violence if she “snitched” on him.
On Friday, jurors found Rodriguez guilty of 25 of the 27 charges against him, which included assault with a deadly weapon resulting in great bodily injury, corporal injury of a spouse, mayhem, witness dissuasion, criminal threats and child abuse.
But the jury found him not guilty of two counts of torture, and though he was found guilty of one count of dissuading a witness, jurors denied a special allegation attached to that charge that Rodriguez threatened violence in that attempt.
The two torture charges each carried a mandatory life sentence. On the charge of attempted murder, jurors found Rodriguez guilty but denied that the attempt showed willful and deliberate premeditation.
Should they have found premeditation true, the conviction would have also automatically resulted in a life sentence, Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt said.
In total, Rodriguez faces a maximum of 35 years and two months in state prison, Devitt said.
Outside the courtroom, the jury foreperson said the jury found the prosecution’s case was very thorough and convincing but that the evidence presented did not fit the standards for torture or premeditation.
Following the verdict, defense attorney Raymond Allen said he was especially disappointed in the attempted murder verdict but was thankful jurors carefully deliberated on each count and spared Rodriguez a life sentence.
Devitt also applauded the jury, noting that the case was graphic and “hard to listen to,” and praised the victim, who took the stand and testified against her ex-boyfriend and the father of her child.
“It shows the strength and integrity of the victim to finally come forward,” Devitt said. “As well as the jury for not only going through the arduous task of listening to some very horrific (testimony), but for holding (Rodriguez) accountable.”
Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 17 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.