CASPER, Wyo. — The murder trial against a man accused of killing a woman in Casper in late 2019 has concluded its third day and is scheduled to run through this week.
The suspect is charged with the alleged murder of 54-year-old Mary Margaret Fogle. He has been charged with Murder in the First Degree, Felony Murder, and Domestic Battery.
The suspect has entered a plea of “not guilty by reason of mental illness.” He faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
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An affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court says that 31-year-old Rodriguez reportedly turned himself into authorities in El Paso County, Colorado in late 2019.
The court document says that on November 18, 2019, the Casper Police Department received a call from El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office; who requested a welfare check for a woman on the 1200 block of South Conwell Street in Casper. El Paso County investigators reportedly told the Casper PD that Rodriguez had tried to turn himself in for the murder of Fogle, while Rodriguez was in Colorado. It was reported that a female, identified as Fogle’s daughter, was with Rodriguez and claimed to have been a witness.
Police report that when they performed a welfare check of the home in 2019 they observed what appeared to be small drops of dried blood, on a floor that was visible from an exterior window. Officers say they forced entry into the home, and report finding Fogle deceased, lying in a hallway.
The affidavit says that Rodriguez was interviewed by homicide investigators from El Paso County. During that interview it was reported that Rodriguez admitted to stabbing Fogle in the neck in the late afternoon or evening of Sunday, November 17, 2019.
After the incident, Rodriguez said that he and Fogle’s daughter packed up a vehicle with personal belongings, Fogle’s dog, and Fogle’s purse. The pair the is reported to have driven to Colorado. The vehicle is said to have also belonged to Fogle.
Fogle’s daughter was initially charged with Accessory After the Fact, but the charge was dismissed by the prosecution in July 2020.
Court documents indicate that prosecutors believe that Rodriguez and Fogle had become involved in a physical altercation after an argument over a mattress. It is alleged that Rodriguez severely beat Fogle and stabbed her in the neck with a knife. It is further claimed by prosecutors that they believe Rodriguez had sex with Fogle’s body.
During the prosecution’s presentation Wednesday afternoon, jurors heard from multiple evidence technicians with the Casper Police Department. On display were several photographs that were captured using Blue Star, a reagent that reportedly fluoresces when it comes in contact with latent blood at a scene. Jurors were shown Blue Star reactive luminescence photographs around the laundry room, kitchen, and bathroom of a private home on Conwell Street.
Jurors also saw a photo of where the victim’s body was found in a hallway, that showed darkened stained floors. District Attorney Dan Itzen pointed out a specific area of luminescence, that Casper Police Department officers say appeared to be a soul impression from a shoe.
Also entered into evidence where bloody clothing that had been collected by the Casper PD during an autopsy that was held in Natrona County, including a vest, button-up shirt, and a pair of jeans.
Closing out Wednesday, the prosecution introduced a video interview of Rodriguez that was taken in Colorado Springs by authorities there. During the video interview, which was played for jurors, Rodriguez can be seen wearing a jail smock and speaking with Colorado investigators.
During the interview, Rodriguez admitted that he killed Fogle, saying that he had “never killed anyone before in my life.” Rodriguez goes on in the interview to explain that he had told others that he had been in the Army and been involved in conflict, but told the investigators that he had “talked a lot of sh-t,” and that he never “got a chance to deploy.”
“If you can’t be straight up with yourself, you’ll never get it straight,” Rodriguez told interrogating Colorado officers.
The investigators are seen in the video asking Rodriguez about the state of dress that the victim was left in, after he had reportedly had sex with the body. Rodriguez didn’t answer the question directly, but went on to describe the victim as “good and evil.”
Police asked Rodriguez to describe the victim’s wounds, and Rodriguez said that he did not remember.
“I don’t know what it looks like, I killed her though.”
The proceedings were recessed by District Court Judge Dan Forgey, following the playing of the interrogation video.
The trial is expected to continue tomorrow and through the end of the week.
All of those cited, arrested, or charged are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.