CASPER – A Casper man accused of murdering his wife’s mother cannot block his wife from testifying in his trial, a Natrona County District Court judge decided Thursday.
Anthony Rodriguez faces one charge of first-degree murder and one for felony murder for the November 2019 death of Mary Margaret Fogle. In Wyoming, a charge of felony murder means the killing took place while another felony was being committed — in Rodriguez’s case, an alleged sexual assault.
The defense had filed a motion to prohibit his wife and Fogle’s daughter, Allison Solis, from serving as a witness.
A previous motion by Rodriguez to switch to a guilty plea for a charge of domestic battery against Solis was also withdrawn in court Thursday.
Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness to all counts against him.
According to an affidavit in the case, he and Solis fled to Colorado with Fogle’s car and purse after the alleged murder. He turned himself into the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office the next day.
Court filings show Solis gave an extensive statement to investigators in January 2020. She described seeing Rodriguez on top of her mother, punching her repeatedly. According to Solis’ testimony, Rodriguez also punched her in the face and pushed her when she tried to intervene, giving her a bruised chin and cut lip later recorded by police in Colorado.
Solis’ statement also includes descriptions of her watching Rodriguez stabbing her mother with a knife, slitting her throat and sexually assaulting her body.
She told detectives Rodriguez prevented her from leaving and said if she didn’t “shut up” she might “be next,” according to court documents.
Attorneys in the case also requested rulings from Judge Daniel Forgey on certain parts of Solis’ statement that may not be acceptable to bring up in court.
Forgey said he plans to analyze her statements and their potential to distract the jury but indicated that he is likely to allow testimony about Rodriguez’s conduct in the days and hours leading up to the killing.
Solis also told detectives, according to court filings, that Rodriguez stopped in Colorado to buy two marijuana joints before turning himself in. Forgey indicated Thursday that information will likely not be allowed in court, since it was not illegal and does not definitively show anything about Rodriguez’s motivations or mental state at the time.
Rodriguez appeared in court Thursday by video from the Natrona County Detention Center, where he has remained since his extradition from Colorado in 2019. He is currently the center’s longest-standing resident.