Convicted rapist Jose Rodriguez, 56, formerly of Ceres, was denied parole for the third time during an August 31 hearing of the State Board of Parole hearings held at Avenal State Prison.
Deputy District Attorney Blythe Harris urged the Parole Board to understand that Rodriguez's actions were those of a predator and not simply an addict on an alcohol binge. The board found that Rodriguez posed an unreasonable risk to public safety and denied parole for another three years. However, recent changes in the law make him eligible for another parole hearing in 18 months.
Prosecutors said that on July 15, 1998, Rodriguez, then 36, bought alcohol for several young women and drove them to a park before driving them to an apartment in Ceres. Rodriguez propositioned several of the women in the group for sex but they declined. Rodriguez then asked a 17-year-old girl to accompany him to a gas station to buy more alcohol. After the victim got into his truck, Rodriguez drove her around while offering her money for sex but she refused. He drove the truck to a vacant field where he pulled out a knife and sexually assaulted her. Afterwards, he kicked the victim out of the truck and threw a case of beer at her.
On Dec. 12, 1998, Rodriguez was sentenced 15 years to life in state prison for the attack.
During Rodriguez's parole suitability hearing, he claimed he was drunk when everything occurred and that he threw the beer at the victim to get rid of the evidence. Harris pointed out how it made no sense that Rodriguez was simply driving to get more alcohol when he still had beer in his truck. Harris argued that Rodriquez's real motivation for getting the victim in the truck in the first place was to rape her and that he was just using the beer run as a pretext to get her in his car.