A state appeals court panel on Wednesday upheld a man’s conviction for a fellow prisoner’s beating death in a Los Angeles County jail.
A three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the trial court improperly instructed the jury that convicted Heriberto Rodriguez of first-degree murder for the Nov. 16, 2005, killing of inmate Chadwick “Shane” Cochran at Men’s Central Jail.
The jury also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.
Cochran was punched, hit with food trays, kicked and stomped in a TV room at the jail. The victim lost consciousness at least once, and a second attacker poured water on the victim to keep him awake to the pain, prosecutors said.
Rodriguez also was convicted of two counts each of second-degree robbery and kidnapping during a carjacking and one count each of attempted carjacking and evading.
Rodriguez was sentenced in August 2013 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Jurors opted against recommending the death penalty for Rodriguez, who testified that he had quit a gang, gotten married and gotten serious about his role as a family man.
Another jail inmate, Christian Perez, was tried separately for Cochran’s killing.
Perez — who was 18 at the time of Cochran’s killing — was convicted and sentenced to death for that murder, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the October 2004 shooting death of Carlos Bran, which occurred when Perez was 17. His appeal is still pending before the California Supreme Court.
— City News Service