A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a Redondo Beach man’s murder conviction for shooting the mother of his 8-month-old son during a domestic dispute.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal concluded that there are “no arguable issues” in the case of Roy Pena Rodriguez Jr.
Rodriguez pleaded no contest in November 2018 to first-degree murder for the Aug. 12, 2015, shooting of Paige Chiarello, and admitted that he had personally used a firearm in the commission of the crime. The 21-year-old woman died the next day at a hospital.
In its four-page ruling, the appellate court panel noted that the victim was shot to death inside her grandparents’ home and that her grandfather ran into the bedroom after hearing the gunshot and saw the defendant standing over her with a gun in his hand.
Rodriguez blocked the grandfather’s efforts to call 911 before eventually relenting and allowing paramedics to be summoned, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
“Before paramedics arrived, defendant repeatedly threatened, at gunpoint, both the grandfather and his own 8-month-old son and also threatened to kill himself,” the panel noted in its ruling.
Rodriguez was arrested after a half-hour standoff.
In a letter that was read in court by the prosecutor, the victim’s grandparents, Edith and Larry Stepanian, wrote that their granddaughter was a “sweet, beautiful, thoughtful, kind and considerate young woman with her whole life ahead of her” and that she had “dreams of becoming a nurse so she could help others in need.”
“There are no words to express our heartache,” they wrote. “We suffer daily with what you did to our granddaughter, our family, our home and our lives. We hope you are never allowed out of prison for the safety and sake of all humans, especially women. People like you need to be kept locked up and away from society, placed in cages like other animals.”
Rodriguez is serving a 35-year-to-life term in state prison.