A Wichita Falls man accused of spanking his daughter was found shot to death on a country road today, Tuesday, April 8 after a jury was selected for his trial Monday, according to a report on Channel 3 TV News, the NBC local affiliate this evening. Testimony was to commence today in front of the 12 selected jurors in the 78th District Courtroom in Wichita Falls.
But when the defendant failed to show up for court today testimony was delayed. Sheriff David Duke reported on Channel 3 News the body of George Edward Rodriguez was found on a country road outside of this city near the Red River.
The case against Rodriguez was a Child Protective Services (CPS) case involving allegations he spanked his daughter with a belt. Charged with injury to a child, a felony offense, Rodriguez reportedly said he thought he'd only struck his daughter twice.
Duke said Rodriguez died of a gunshot wound. Two shots were evidently fired, one striking the passenger side door of the vehicle in which the man was found.
Rodriguez was charged with injury to a child, a state jail felony and faced up to two years in prison if convicted of the alleged November 2012 incident, according to an article in today's Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper. Defense attorneys had filed a motion seeking probation if the defendant was found guilty.
He had no prior felony convictions in Texas or any other state and was eligible for probation if convicted, according to the motion filed for the defense.
The probable cause affidavit said Child Protective Services was called to the victim's elementary school Nov. 19, 2012, when people claimed they noticed bruising to the child's face and neck. The child was five years old.
The child reportedly told a CPS caseworker she was spanked with a belt the day before by the defendant. The CPS employee said severe bruising to the victim's buttocks on both sides and the back of both her thighs down to her knees was observed.
Rodriguez said in an affidavit he didn't think he spanked her that hard.
Another affidavit said a law enforcement officer believed the force used against the child was beyond the reasonable degree necessary to discipline the child.
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