CASPER — A jury on Friday convicted a Casper man of murdering his mother-in-law in 2019.
After a day of deliberations, jurors found Anthony Rodriguez guilty of second-degree murder and domestic battery. But they acquitted him on the more serious first-degree murder charge, as well as a charge of felony murder, which means killing someone while another felony (in this case, sexual assault) was allegedly being committed.
Rodriguez sat back in his chair and looked down as the verdict was read at around 7 p.m. in Natrona County District Court. The not guilty verdict on the first-degree murder charge means Rodriguez avoids a certain life sentence. A second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of between 20 years and life.
Rodriguez had pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness following his 2019 arrest.
Court documents state Rodriguez killed his wife’s mother, Mary Margaret Fogle, in November 2019. An affidavit in the case says he got into an argument with her and then began punching and stabbing her before slitting her throat.
Rodriguez and his legal team attempted to block Fogle’s daughter, Allison Solis, from testifying in court earlier in April. A Natrona County District Court judge denied that request.
According to court filings, Solis told her side of the story to investigators in January 2020. Her account included seeing Rodriguez repeatedly punching her mother while on top of her. She also described seeing him stabbing her mother and slitting her throat with a knife before sexually assaulting her dead body.
She reportedly told detectives Rodriguez also punched and pushed her, then prevented her from leaving and telling her that she might “be next” if she didn’t “shut up.”
Autopsy photos of Fogle’s body were shown during the trial Thursday, showing several deep stab wounds around her neck and heavy bruising to her head and face.
Rodriguez and Solis went to Colorado after the incident, where Rodriguez turned himself into the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office the next day and admitted to stabbing Fogle. Casper police then found Fogle’s body in her South Conwell Street house.