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Manuel Antonio RODRIGUEZ





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 3
Date of murder: December 4, 1984
Date of birth: January 13, 1956
Victims profile: Bea Sabe Joseph, Sam Joseph, and Genevieve Marie Abraham
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Dade County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on October 24, 1996

Florida Supreme Court

opinion SC-90153

AKA Manolo Rodriguez (H/M)

DC# 073283
DOB:  01/13/56

Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Dade County, Case #93-25817B
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Leslie Rothenber
Attorney, Trial: E. Zenobi and R. Houlihan – Special Assistant Public Defenders
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Scott W. Sarkin – Special Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Roseanne Eckert – CCRC -

Date of Offense:  12/04/84

Date of Sentence:  10/24/96

Circumstances of Offense:

Manuel Rodriguez was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Bea Sabe Joseph, Sam Joseph, and Genevieve Marie Abraham. 

On 12/04/84, Manuel Rodriguez and Luis Rodriguez, who are not related, went to the apartment of Bea Sabe Joseph and Sam Joseph to rob the couple.  Manuel Rodriguez and Luiz Rodriguez forced their way into the Joseph’s apartment.  They robbed the couple and a friend of the Josephs, Genevieve Marie Abraham, who was visiting the Joseph’s apartment.  They killed all three people by shooting each victim in the head. 

The police determined that Abraham’s wedding band, diamond watch and diamond bracelet were missing.  Shortly after the murders, Manuel Rodriguez called police identifying himself as Antonio Chait and gave the police false information about the murders. 

The police were able to determine that Manuel Rodriguez made the phone calls himself, which made him a suspect in the murders.  Later, Manuel Rodriguez contacted the police again and identified himself as Antonio Traves.  He told the police that he had witnessed a man named Geraldo leaving the Josephs’ apartment on the night of the murders.

In 1992, Rafael Lopez, Luis Rodriguez’s brother-in-law, informed police that Luis Rodriguez admitted he robbed and killed the Josephs and Abraham with Manuel Rodriguez to obtain the reward offered for information about the case.  Based on this information, the police spoke to Luis Rodriguez, who confessed, incriminating himself and Manuel Rodriguez for the armed burglary and murders. 

The police talked to Manuel Rodriguez, who claimed not to have been involved, but he eventually admitted to involvement in the armed burglary and murders.  Manuel Rodriguez, however, claimed that he was asked to act as a lookout while Luis Rodriguez and his brother, Isidoro, committed the armed burglary and murders.

At the trial of Manuel Rodriguez, Luis Rodriquez testified that Manuel asked him to act as the lookout while Manuel Rodriguez committed the robbery and murders.  Manuel Rodriguez claimed that on 12/04/84, Manuel and Luis Rodriguez went to the Joseph’s apartment. 

Manuel knocked on the door and told Sam Joseph that Maria Malakoff, the girlfriend of Manuel and the sister of Luis, and her and Manuel’s children were being held hostage until the Josephs gave Manuel money. 

At this point, Manuel pushed his way into the apartment and Luis followed, closing the door behind him.  Manuel put on a pair of rubber gloves and gave a pair to Luis.  Sam Joseph offered to get money from the bedroom, but Luis went instead and found a firearm, which upset Manuel because he thought that Sam Joseph was trying to trick them so that he could get the gun. 

Manuel Rodriguez shot both Bea Joseph and Sam Joseph.  Manuel ordered Luis to shoot Genevieve Marie Abraham.  Luis Rodriguez shot Abraham, and then he quickly left the scene.  In a sworn statement prior to Manuel Rodriguez’s trial, Maria Malakoff testified that Manuel told her that he killed Sam Joseph, Luis killed Abraham, and Manuel himself verified that all the victims were dead. 

Codefendant Status:  Luis O. Rodriguez (Dade #93-25817)

Luis O. Rodriguez was convicted of three counts of Second-Degree Murder and one count of Armed Burglary.  Rodriquez was sentenced to four life sentences on 04/25/96.

Trial Summary:

09/15/93          Rodriguez was indicted on the following counts:

Count I:  First-Degree Murder (Bea Sabe Joseph)
Count II:  First-Degree Murder (Sam Joseph)
Count III:  First-Degree Murder (Genevieve Marie Abraham)
Count IV:  Armed Burglary with Assault

10/24/96          Rodriguez was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

12/12/96          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the death penalty for each of the three counts of First-Degree Murder.

01/31/97          Rodriguez was sentenced as follows:

Count I:  First-Degree Murder (Bea Sabe Joseph) Death
Count II:  First-Degree Murder (Sam Joseph)
Count III:  First-Degree Murder (Genevieve Marie Abraham)
Count IV:  Armed Burglary with Assault

Case Information:

Rodriguez filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 03/20/97.  The issues addressed included the prosecution improperly commenting on Rodriguez’s right not to testify at the trial, the trial court mishandling peremptory challenges during jury selection, and the trial court improperly admitting evidence beneficial for the prosecution and improperly denying admitting evidence beneficial for the defense. 

Other issues included that the trial court mishandled assessing mitigation and aggravating factors and that the trial court erred in finding the murders to be cold, calculating and premeditated. 

The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted reversing the conviction or sentence and affirmed the conviction and sentence on 02/03/00.  Rehearing was denied on 03/23/00.  A Mandate was issued on 04/26/00.

Rodriguez filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari on 06/20/00 with the United States Supreme Court.  The petition was denied on 10/02/00.

Rodriguez filed a 3.850 Motion on 09/14/01 with the circuit court.  Rodriguez filed an Amended 3.850 Motion on 04/16/04.  The motion was denied on 05/03/05.

On 05/16/05, Rodriguez filed a 3.850 Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.  The appeal is currently pending.



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