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Suspect in custody in connection to 2002 Donna murder of four women

Local News

Jesus Carlos Rodriguez (source: Hidalgo County public records)

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — Nearly 19 years after the crime was committed, one man is in the custody of Hidalgo County officials after they say he ordered gang members to murder women in Donna.

Jesus Carlos Rodriguez, 44, was transported from a Jefferson County State Prison to Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office investigators on Friday for his involvement in the 2002 murder.

According to court records, Rodriguez ordered a hit while in prison on two women in 2002 that testified as witnesses that they saw him attempt to murder someone by shooting in 2001.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 20 years in prison for this offense. He remained at the Jefferson County State Prison until February 2021.

During his time in prison, he ordered a hit on the two women, Nora Rodriguez and Mercedes Quintero, who worked at a nightclub in Donna.

Five men linked with the Tri-City Bombers gang, which Rodriguez is also affiliated with, were listed as suspects for carrying out the hit on September 5, 2002.

The group followed a vehicle from the nightclub to a residence at which point the gang members fired “at least sixty-one shots” at the parked car, according to court documents.

Four women were killed, one was injured, and another managed to not be injured.

However, none of the women involved were the two that Rodriguez ordered a hit on.

Celina Linares Sanchez, 21, Lourdes Yesenia Araujo Torres, 20, Danitzene Lizeth Vasquez Beltran, 21, and Maria De La Luz Bazaldua Cobarrubias, 31, were all killed at the scene. Another woman, Magda Torres Vasquez, received gunshot injuries but survived. The lone uninjured survivor was Karla Espino Ramos.

All six of these women worked at the same nightclub as Nora and Quintero.

The group escaped the crime scene and evaded the law for months until being taken in by investigators.

In 2003, Robert Garza, Mark Reyna, Guadalupe Guerra, and Rodolfo Medrano were taken into custody for this case. A sixth suspect, Ricardo Martinez, has never been located and was suspected to have escaped to Mexico.

Garza was convicted of all four murders and given death penalty charges on two of them. He was sentenced to death in 2013, although he maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings despite confessing to the crime to investigators.

Reyna, Guerra, and Medrano’s involvement in the capital murder charges were all dismissed and they did not serve jail time. However, Medrano was sentenced to death for the murder of five people in 2003.

Rodriguez will now face trial for these murders that he called a hit for in 2002.

Rodriguez was previously serving a sentence for the 2001 attempted murder.

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office gave him a charge of capital murder, organized criminal activity, and two counts of criminal attempt murder.

He remains in jail on a $3 million bond for these charges.

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