A Lompoc man with a pattern of stabbing his girlfriend was sentenced Thursday to more than 30 years in prison.
A jury had previously convicted Brian Michael Rodriguez of 25 charges. The most lofty charge, attempted murder, stemmed from an incident in Cambria last July during which Rodriguez stabbed his then-pregnant girlfriend while in the presence of friends and children.
But Rodriguez had also stabbed the girlfriend on six previous occasions, according to trial testimony.
“He is a very, very violent man, and he needs to be locked up for the longest time possible,” Deputy District Attorney Greg Devitt said during the sentencing.
Superior Court Judge Rita Federman sentenced Rodriguez to 31 years and eight months in prison.
Attorney Raymond Allen sought a lighter term, saying Rodriguez had been abused and neglected as a child. Raised by a mother addicted to heroin and alcohol, he argued, Rodriguez had received mental health treatment from the age of 5.
“He presents as both depressed and anxious,” he wrote in a presentencing statement filed with the court. “He has acute fear of abandonment and has a tendency to overreact at the slightest sign of rejection or disapproval.”
A psychiatric expert testified during the trial that the defendant’s mental health issues, combined with drug and alcohol addiction, created “fantasies of infidelity,” according to Allen’s statement. Another expert said abnormalities in the defendant’s brain led to a lack of impulse control.
But Devitt said Rodriguez sought to control women and his abuse had become worse over time.
“He is charged up and ready to take somebody’s life at the drop of a hat,” Devitt said. “And he saves that violence for women.”
During the trial, Devitt said Rodriguez was sadistic, once sending taunting messages to the girlfriend after stabbing her in the leg.
“Your other leg is gonna get it,” Rodriguez wrote.
During the Cambria incident, Rodriguez had consumed up to 18 beers while at another family’s home. After attempting to urinate on his girlfriend, he stabbed her. The girlfriend, who was pregnant with his second child, suffered knife wounds to her arm and back.
The family who lived at the home wrote letters to the court, saying they were traumatized by the incident.
A child who lived at the home, now 6, is medicated for depression and aggression, his mother wrote. Her husband, meanwhile, is now reluctant to start friendships with people. He has since lost his job, and the family lost its home.
“My kids are scared all the time,” the father wrote. “They can’t even go to the bathroom on their own.”