HOUSTON—A Harris County jury has sentenced a retired Baytown firefighter to 40 years in prison for killing his neighbor.
Raul Rodriguez,46, killed elementary school teacher Kelly Danaher, in May of 2010 after a heated exchange over loud music coming from Danaher’s house party.
A home video that Rodriguez shot to document the event, shows the 22 minutes that led up to the shooting.
On the tape, you hear Rodriguez say he feared for his life.
The father of six claimed self-defense, but a jury convicted him of murder earlier this month.
“This is a perfect storm of events that led to this act where Raul Rodriguez pulled the trigger,” defense attorney Bill Stradley told jurors during closing arguments, as he asked them not to sentence his client to life in prison. “I just don’t see how you can get there based on this.”
Rodriguez faced a range of punishment from five years to life in prison for what the defense called a case of a man “standing his ground.”
“You are going to have people that are going to make judgment calls, and as we go into the future, people are going to be in situations where people make the wrong call,” said Stradley. “He made a wrong judgment call.”
Stradley asked jurors to sentence Rodriguez to five years in prison. Prosecutors asked jurors for the maximum sentence.
“We need to make sure his neighbors are people just like him. We need to make sure that the sheriff is a holler away for the rest of his life,” prosecutor Donna Logan told jurors. “There is no rehabilitation for a man like that.”
During the punishment phase of the trial, four of Rodriguez’s sons testified in his defense and said he was strict, but not abusive.
“Raul’s little soldier—they were carrying out their mission and coming to his aid in his time of need,” said Logan, as she referred to their testimony before mentioning his wife. “She has been brainwashed. She has been controlled. She has bought into his lies…hook, line and sinker.”
Jurors began deliberating around 11 a.m.