CANYON, Texas (AP) _ A 28-year-old San Antonio man accused of beating a pregnant woman before stuffing her body in a suitcase and dumping it in a landfill was convicted Friday of capital murder.
Rosendo Rodriguez was found guilty after two hours of deliberations in the slaying of Summer Baldwin, 29, and her unborn child. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the trial's punishment phase.
Baldwin, who was a prostitute, was killed in a Lubbock hotel room in 2005. She was about 10 weeks pregnant at the time.
A Lubbock medical examiner testified that Baldwin was raped. Her death was caused by blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, although a single lethal injury couldn't be isolated, said Dr. Sridhar Natarajan, Lubbock County chief medical examiner.
Rodriguez claimed he killed Baldwin in self-defense after she attacked him with a knife for stealing her crack pipe.
The medical examiner also testified that Baldwin, may have been alive when Rodriguez stuffed her body in a suitcase and tossed it into an industrial-sized trash bin.
The next day her body was found in the Lubbock landfill, about 15 miles north of Lubbock.
Detectives tracked the suitcase back to Rodriguez through store purchase records, according to police reports.
The trial was moved to Canyon after attorneys found extensive media coverage hampered the ability to seat an impartial jury.
Rodriguez is also suspected of killing Joanna Rogers, a 16-year-old who disappeared in 2004. Her remains were found in 2006 in the same landfill where Baldwin's body was discovered.
Information from: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, http://www.lubbockonline.com
Information from: KCBD-TV www.KCBD.com
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.