You'd hope that San Antonio residents Wilber Adalid Rodriguez and Jose Antonio Rodriguez would find a way to get along. As the old blues song goes, they were both poor boys a long ways from home: the 24-year-old Wilber hails from El Salvador, while Jose, 28, was from Honduras.
But alas, they could not get along at all, and we say "was" in reference to Jose because on the morning of November 1, 2009, the Honduran's body was found stuffed in a culvert under a downtown San Antonio bridge. He had been stabbed dozens of times, strangled and beaten, at the hands of Wilber, and (allegedly) Johel Steven Sanchez, Wilber's uncle who has since gone on the lam.
Wilber's girlfriend Crystal Vasquez told police that the men were drinking and smoking drugs together when an argument erupted.
You'll never believe what these guys were fighting over.
Vasquez told police that Wilber and Jose Rodriguez simply could not agree on which of their two countries had "better" street gangs: El Salvador and MS-13, or Honduras's lesser-known homegrown "maras." (Looks like El Salvador "won" this round.)
The court also heard that Jose Rodriguez was forced to apologize for denigrating Salvadoran gangs. He was made to beg for his life as Wilber Rodriguez and Sanchez worked him over for a full 20 minutes. The medical examiner found over 45 stab wounds spread over Wilber's torso, neck and chest.
Jose pleaded guilty to the murder last month, and prosecutors agreed to ask the judge for a sentence of 25 years or less, which is pretty lenient for Texas, especially for such a heinous murder. The defense had asked for a max of 15 years since the defendant would be deported at the end of his sentence anyway.
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A San Antonio prosecutor explained that they were willing to strike the deal because, and we're paraphrasing here, everybody on the scene was really fucked up to begin with and had severe credibility problems even when they were stone-cold sober. "[W]hich makes their testimony maybe not as clear-cut as someone who lives a different lifestyle," the prosecutor told the San Antonio Express-News. "It was still a vicious and savage killing, and the person who committed something like that needs to go to prison for a long time."
And Wilber Rodriguez will do just that, if not for perhaps as long as we'd like to see
But hell, Wilber will probably see this as a golden opportunity. Once he's locked up in TDCJ, he will be able to round out his connoisseurial appreciation of Central American gangs with hands-on, up-close and personal studies of North American gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, the Aryan Brotherhood, and the Bloods and the Crips.
We see a book deal in his future, maybe a consultancy on the History Channel's Gangland. That is, if he makes it out of jail alive...