Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 13, 1988
Date of arrest: 3 weeks after
Date of birth: June 26, 1956
Victim profile: Abelardo Saladrigas (store owner)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 28, 1990

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC00-99

DC# 394141
DOB: 06/26/56

Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County Case #88-18180B
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Thomas M. Carney
Attorney, Trial: Scott Kalish - Private
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Geoffrey C. Fleck - Private
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Rachel Day – CCRC-S

Date of Offense: 05/13/88

Date of Sentence: 03/28/90

Circumstances of Offense:

Juan Rodriguez was convicted of the charges of the first-degree murder of Abelardo Saladrigas, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a felony, attempted armed robbery, armed burglary with an assault, aggravated assault, and attempted first-degree murder.  These convictions stemmed from incidents occurring on two consecutive days.   

On 04/22/88, Rodriguez went to a bondsman, where he met Ramon Fernandez and Carlos Sponsa.  Fernandez gave the bondsman the title to his car to pay Rodriguez’s bail.  Rodriguez assured Fernandez he would get the money to pay him back. 

On 05/13/88, Sponsa and Fernandez met with Rodriguez to demand the owed bond money.  Rodriguez told the two men he knew where to get the money and to follow him to an auto parts store.  Rodriguez told Sponsa and Fernandez to wait in their car at the front of the store while he drove around back. 

At the back exit of the store, Rodriguez saw the store owner, Abelardo Saladrigas, and approached him.  Rodriguez pulled a gun on Saladrigas and demanded his briefcase and watch.  Saladrigas did not comply. Rodriguez shot him four times, took the briefcase and watch, and then ran back to his car and took off.  Sponsa and Fernandez claimed to have fled after hearing the first gunshot. 

Later, Rodriguez gave half of the $1,200 found in the briefcase to Fernandez.  Rodriguez kept the Rolex watch for himself.  Saladrigas was able to describe the events to a family member, police officer and store worker before he died. 

Saladrigas had two wounds in his right arm, one wound in the upper left chest, one wound one inch above the right knee, and two wounds to the right chest, one of which was fatal.  Although there were six wounds on Saladrigas’ body, the medical examiner claimed they were consistent with four gun shot wounds.   

The day following the murder, Rodriguez, along with Fernandez and other men, attempted to rob a household.  They were unsuccessful because the homeowner had a gun that he fired at the men three times. One of the robbers accompanying Rodriguez fired back once.  

Three weeks after the attempted household robbery, Fernandez was arrested.  He confessed to his involvement in the auto parts store offense and the attempted robbery.  Fernandez told police that Rodriguez was the one who shot Saladrigas, and he was subsequently arrested.   

Francisco Reyes testified that in county jail prior to Rodriguez’s trial, he offered him $3,000 to kill Fernandez stating that, if he was dead, the state would no longer have a witness for the case against him.

On 01/31/90, Rodriguez was found guilty of all charges of the indictment.  On 3/28/90, Rodriguez was sentenced to death for the murder of Saladrigas.

Codefendant Information:

The following codefendants were involved and indicted for the murder and/or attempted home invasion:

Ramon Fernandez:

Fernandez was sentenced to five years for count 1, 3 and 4 and 17 years for counts 2 and 6.   Each count is to run concurrently. 

Sergio Valdes:

Sergio was sentenced to time served (15 months) for counts 1, 2 and 3 and probation with special conditions for his involvement. 

Angel Diaz:

Diaz was indicted on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6.  For count 1 he was sentenced to 364 days in county jail, for counts 2, 3, 4 and 6 he was sentenced to Community Control and 3 years probation with special conditions.

Jorge Luis Hernandez:

Hernandez was sentenced to five years in prison for counts 2, 3, 5 and 6 with three years credit served.  Counts 2, 3 and 6 are to run concurrent.

Lazaro Roberto Hernandez:

Lazaro was sentenced on counts 1, 2, 3 and 6 to one year Community Control with special conditions followed by 3 and a half years probation.

Additional Information:

Rodriguez has a history of offenses in Dade County including possession / racketeering / sale and distribution of cocaine, carrying a concealed firearm, burglary and grand theft all of which Rodriguez received probation and/or about one month jail time.

Trial Summary:

05/03/89          Indicted as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder
Count II: Armed Robbery
Count III: Conspiracy to Commit a Felony
Count IV: Attempted Armed Robbery
Count V: Armed Burglary with an Assault
Count VI: Aggravated Assault with a Weapon
Count VII: Attempted First-Degree Murder                     

01/31/90          Jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts of the indictment.

03/01/90          Jury recommended death by a vote of 12 to 0.

03/28/90          Sentenced as follows:

Count I: First-Degree Murder - Death
Count II: Armed Robbery - Life
Count III: Conspiracy to Commit a Felony - 15 Years
Count IV: Attempted Armed Robbery -15 Years
Count V: Armed Burglary with an Assault - Life
Count VI: Aggravated Assault with a Weapon - 5 Years
Count VII: Attempted First-Degree Murder - Life

Case Information:

On 05/11/90, Rodriguez filed a direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.  Rodriguez contended that error occurred in the trial court by requiring him to continue without the presence of a subpoenaed defense witness and for that witness’s testimony to be excluded from the trial.  He also contended that error occurred in conducting a joint trial for the charges, admitting his sister-in-law’s identification testimony and introducing hearsay testimony. On 10/08/92, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictions and sentence.

Rodriguez filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 03/26/93.  The petition was denied on 10/04/93.

Rodriguez then filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court on 09/12/94.  The motion was denied on 11/23/99.

On 01/14/00, Rodriguez filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Rodriguez’s 3.850 Motion on 5/26/05.

On 12/31/01, Rodriguez filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 5/26/05.

Rodriguez filed a 3.850 Motion in the State Circuit Court.  The motion was denied on 6/26/06.



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