A Panorama City man was sentenced Wednesday to 46 years to life in prison for murdering his wife with a machete in an attack caught on surveillance video, then forcing his way into his neighbors’ apartment where a couple and their teenage son were injured.
Jurors deliberated about two hours before finding David Ernesto Rodriguez, 38, guilty July 23 of first-degree murder for the June 22, 2019, attack on his 32-year-old wife, Karla, in the courtyard of the apartment complex, according to Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer.
“You can see the whole murder on video,” the prosecutor said after the verdict.
Rodriguez then forced his way into the neighbors’ apartment and attacked the man, who lost an eye and suffered injuries to his nose and arm, Kramer said. The man’s wife and then-17-year-old son were also injured when they tried to intervene.
Along with the murder, Rodriguez was convicted of one count each of attempted murder, mayhem and burglary and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Jurors acquitted the defendant of a second mayhem charge — involving the teenager.
The prosecutor said there was no evidence presented to support Rodriguez’s claim that he believed his wife was having some form of relationship with the adult male neighbor.
In statements read in court by the prosecutor at Rodriguez’s sentencing, the murder victim’s mother, Aracely Lopez Sandoval, and members of the neighboring family said they wanted justice to be done.
“The pain remains in my heart. I want him to pay for how cruel he was and what he did,” Karla Rodriguez’s mother wrote in her statement. “I want justice and for him to be in jail for life, to pay for everything he did to my daughter and the other family.”
Rodriguez was arrested early that morning by Los Angeles police and has remained behind bars since then.