Jury convicts Watsonville man in 2011 Bixby Street stabbing

April 29, 2013

A jury today found a Watsonville man guilty of attempted murder, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee said.

Raul Rodriguez, 37, was arrested after he went to Bixby Street in Santa Cruz and attacked a man who was trying to park his car on Oct. 23, 2011.

Prosecutors believe Rodriguez either mistook the victim for a rival gang member or didn’t care whether he was gang-affiliated or not. The victim was stabbed five times in the chest. Using fingerprints from the scene, investigators were able to track Rodriguez down at a motel in Gilroy on Oct. 29, 2011.

The jury also found to be true the special allegations that Rodriguez inflicted great bodily injury on the victim, that the attack was deliberate and premeditated and that the crime was committed for the benefit of a gang.

Rodriguez faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced in August.

Prosecutor Charlie Baum called Rodriguez a “lifelong gangster,” who had “violent convictions going back nearly 20 years, including carjackings and two different gang assaults.”

At trial Rodriguez testified he was drunk the night of the crime and believed the victim was going to assault him. He said he did not remember shouting gang slogans as he stabbed the other man.

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