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Career Criminal Sentenced for Beating Death of Pregnant Woman, Unborn Baby

A career criminal was sentenced for the beating death of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby in Central Florida.

A judge sentenced Jay Rodriguez to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of two counts of second-degree murder in the brutal beating deaths of his girlfriend and her unborn baby. The victim’s roommate told jurors she tried intervening while Rodriguez kicked and hit the victim repeatedly, even stomping on her pregnant stomach.

The medical examiner testified about the victim’s extensive head injuries and blunt force trauma to her body that lead to her death. The victim was pronounced deceased at the hospital, where doctors delivered the baby, who only lived for about 20 minutes. Rodriguez was on probation for attempted robbery, robbery with a firearm, and felon in possession at the time of this heinous crime.

Rodriguez had previously served a decade in prison for armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault charges. Less than a year after he was released in 2013, Rodriguez committed an attempted armed robbery in Tampa and was sentenced to five years in state prison. Fewer than two years after that release, Rodriguez committed this double murder.

“This monster will no longer be able to hurt another human being because he will spend the rest of his life behind bars,” said State Attorney Suzy Lopez. “While our office is encouraged that justice was finally served for the victim and her baby, we know nothing can bring back these two innocent lives. Our hearts are with their families as they continue through the grieving process.”

This case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant State Attorneys Jessica O’Connor and Marissa Rozas and investigated by the Tampa Police Department.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, our community is fortunate to have incredible resources for survivors and their children. The Spring of Tampa Bay has a 24-hour Crisis Hotline that victims can call: (813)-247-SAFE (7233). Victims can also learn more about The Spring’s services and resources online.

The State Attorney’s Office of the 13th Judicial circuit encompasses all of Hillsborough County, including the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City.

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