Fatal Casper Stabbing Case Heads To Supreme Court
A Casper man convicted of fatally stabbing his mother-in-law will have his case heard before the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Anthony Rodriguez was convicted of second-degree murder in April of last year in the stabbing death of Mary Fogle, his mother-in-law.
Rodriguez was sentenced to 70 years to life behind bars in August. He subsequently appealed the judgment in March.
In his appeal, Rodriguez's attorneys claim prosecutorial misconduct in four different statements prosecutors made in their opening statements and closing arguments.
During the trial, Rodriguez took the stand and gave rambling, incoherent testimony. At one point, Rodriguez claimed that his father-in-law was in a "sex cult" in Colorado that produced incestual, pornographic videos. Rodriguez also testified that Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Mike Schafer was one of his father-in-law's personalities.
In closing arguments, Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen referred to Rodriguez's conduct on the witness stand. Itzen inferred that Rodriguez, who claimed mental illness, was malingering during his testimony.
"Ladies and gentlemen, he should get an Emmy," Itzen told jurors.
The Wyoming Attorney General's Office, in a response to Rodriguez's appeal, said Itzen's comments were intended to discredit Rodriguez's testimony.
"On appeal, Rodriguez maintains that the prosecutor's argument was 'not a comment on the evidence or reasonable inference that could be drawn from it.' Instead, he contends that the prosecutor 'intended to inflame the jury and made a statement of his personal opinion about the evidence' and Rodriguez's veracity," the attorney general's response states. "He appears to concede, however, that the prosecutor was commenting on how Rodrigeuz acted during his testimony: 'The comment was presumably intended to target Mr. Rodriguez's testimony, which was so disjointed that both attorneys expressed their desire to just get through it.'
Attorneys for Rodriguez will give oral arguments at 11 a.m. June 16.
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