A trial for a man accused of killing his former girlfriend and dumping her body in Stafford County some 30 years ago is scheduled to start June 10 and last at least two weeks.
Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, 54, is charged in Stafford with first-degree murder and concealment of a dead body. The charges stem from the 1989 disappearance of Marta Rodriguez in Arlington County. Her remains were discovered Feb. 3, 1991, in the median of Interstate 95 about a mile north of the Courthouse Road exit in Stafford.
Rodriguez–Cruz was already serving a 12-year prison sentence for killing another woman when he was indicted by a Stafford grand jury in October for the Rodriguez slaying. The case is being tried in Stafford because that’s where her remains were found.
Rodriguez–Cruz is serving time in a federal facility in West Virginia for the slaying of 47-year-old Pamela Butler, who was killed at her home in Washington in 2009.
Rodriguez–Cruz pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the Butler slaying after agreeing to tell police where he’d disposed of the body. He led them to an area not far from where Rodriguez’s remains were found, but extensive construction work had taken place by then and Butler’s remains were never found.
But her brother, Derrick Butler, repeatedly encouraged Stafford authorities to pursue charges in the Rodriguez slaying. His persistence was credited with being a key factor leading to October’s indictments.
Butler attended Wednesday’s arraignment hearing in Stafford Circuit Court and stared at Rodriguez–Cruz the entire time.
Marta Rodriguez, who was 28 when she disappeared, wasn’t identified for years after her remains were discovered. A key reason was because a Florida woman had assumed her identity and convinced police that Rodriguez was alive and well in Florida.
But in 2017, police learned that the woman pretending to be Rodriguez was actually the sister of Rodriguez–Cruz’s second wife. Police said she got the victim’s Social Security number and date of birth from Rodriguez–Cruz.
Rodriguez–Cruz was brought to the Rappahannock Regional Jail earlier this month pending his Stafford trial. The trial is scheduled to last until June 24, but Judge Michael Levy set aside a couple of extra days in case they are needed.