A convicted felon accused in the shooting death of an Indio woman earlier this year must stand trial on a murder charge, a judge ruled Monday.
Johnny Jose Rodriguez, 26, was arrested a day after 32-year-old Angela Struzas was gunned down inside her home Jan. 14 at 38555 Rancho Los Coyotes Drive.
At a preliminary hearing at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence for Rodriguez to proceed to trial for a murder charge, along with a sentence-enhancing allegation of discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury.
Hawkins kept the defendant’s bail at $1 million and scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Sept. 28.
Rodriguez faces a potential sentence of 50 years to life in state prison if convicted, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Indio Police Department Detective Kelly Hawkins said it was “probably one of bloodiest scenes I’ve ever seen.” He testified, “She was just drenched in blood and in a pool of blood.”
Rodriguez was arrested along with the victim’s roommate, 44-year-old Fred “Grizzly” Garcia. Garcia was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder and witness intimation in connection with the shooting, according to Indio police, although he was never charged in the crime.
According to Detective Matthew Gutting, Rodriguez admitted to the killing in an interview with the police, allegedly telling Gutting “I’m a good aim.”
Gutting said the defendant admitted to shooting Struzas in her room once in the arm with a gun handed to him minutes before by Garcia, who allegedly told Rodriquez to “get her.”
A motive was not disclosed, and a weapon was never located in the crime.
Rodriguez, who has several documented felony convictions in Riverside County, was on probation at the time of his most recent arrest stemming from a 2019 conviction for possessing a controlled substance for sale.
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