MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Andy Rodriguez, a former Coral Gables Senior High School student, was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison and 10 years of probation for the murder of classmate Juan Carlos Rivera.

Earlier this year, a jury found 19-year-old Rodriguez guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of  Rivera.

Rodriguez had faced a maximum of life in prison.

“The court has taken into consideration the young age of the defendant, lack of priopr criminal record, and his nine suspensions in school over three years,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Dava Tunis. “Because of your actions you have forfeited your youth and much of your life.”

During the proceeding, Rodriguez said he never meant to hurt Rivera.

“I want to ask for forgiveness from the family of the victim from the bottom of my heart.  I’m not a murderer.  I don’t behave like a murderer.  I have a good heart,” said Rodriguez.

Rivera’s mother sent an emotional plea via letter to Judge Tunis.

The letter said, “Andy Rodriguez destroyed my family, my hopes, and my dreams.”

Rodriguez’s defense attorneys had argued that their client acted in self-defense when he stabbed Rivera.

“This kid went through hell before he got here and now he’s back into hell and sentencing him to life would be cruel and unusual punishment,” attorney Alexander Michaels said. “I beg the court to sentence him to no more than 20 years.”

“He’s the best thing that happened in my life. He’s a good son.  He’s not an assassin.  It was a fist fight at school.  There was no security to separate them.  My grandson never meant to kill anyone, he was being held in a choke hold,” said Rodriguez’s grandmother Elsa Alfonso.

Prosecutors countered that Rodriguez killed Rivera in a jealous rage after his ex-girlfriend, Daimilsis Salgado, befriended him.

“There is nothing to celebrate today. The sentencing of Andy Rodriguez is a double-tragedy,” the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “A deadly anger by a jealous young man sadly ended the life of Juan Carlos Rivera and has ruined two families.”

Rivera’s mother finished her plea for Judge Tunis to give Rodriguez life in prison with the following words:

“Your honor, nothing can bring my son back to me. It is my most sincere hope that this court sentences Andy Rodriguez to life in prison. This is not easy for me to say. I understand that he is a young man, and that his family is destroyed as well. However, he made the most brutal and awful choice and he must live with the consequences of his actions. As I will never have my son again, he should never be a free man again.

In addition to the sentence, after his prison term, Rodriguez must also talk to kids about the dangers of youth violence.

Comments (8)
  1. erick d. says:

    Too much for a teenager, as his lawyer said. But once again, is that acceptable to charge and try underage suspects as adults? Many would side with me that it is plain wrong. Teenagers and children little know the consequences of their actions.

  2. Nazaret Flordevila says:

    two young life both end in tragedy due to one the he was so popular and full of anger and andy parent did not notice their son anger problem but my heart goes to the mother juan carlos she will never see her son ever again the other parent will

  3. John Dennis says:

    This makes me sad. I am only two years older than him and I can’t imagine myself in his position. But he made this choice, he killed and he must pay. Hopeful he can behave in jail and get out earlier and get to enjoy life.

  4. Fan of Sparky says:

    They should have given him the death penalty. He woke up that morning and planned to kill the other kid, that is why he brought the knife to school.

  5. Howard Camner says:

    The fact is that this kid is a murderer. Now he pays the check. Have fun munching concrete kid.

  6. erick d. says:

    How long will people understand that teenagers and any person under 18 lacks the emotional and general maturity to assume control for their actions. In Rodriguez’ case, he was emotionally messed up when he attacked a classmate due to “love emotions”
    Once again, adult charges for underage suspects need to be repealed for good.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s