Jury continues deliberations in Forsyth Co. death penalty murder case

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The jury in the first-degree murder trial of Juan Carlos Rodriguez entered the second day of deliberations this morning.

Prosecutors allege that Rodriguez, 38, strangled his estranged wife, Maria Magdalena Rodriguez, to death and then decapitated her on Nov. 18, 2010. Maria Rodriguez was reported missing the next day and her body was found Dec. 12, 2010, in a wooded area at the end of Williamsburg Road.

Juan Rodriguez is also charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Attorneys for Juan Rodriguez argue that Maria Rodriguez was killed after Dec. 1, 2010, when Juan Rodriguez was already in the Forsyth County Jail on the kidnapping and assault charges related to his wife’s disappearance.

They presented evidence during the trial that Maria Rodriguez’s body was in the early stages of decomposition when she was found and that she had died three to seven days before her body was found.

Closing arguments ended Wednesday morning and the jury began deliberations just after 12 p.m. The jury came back at 9:30 a.m. this morning and deliberated before breaking for lunch at 12:30 p.m. The jury was scheduled to resume deliberations at 2 p.m.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Juan Rodriguez could face the death penalty.

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