Friday Firesmith – The sins of Elizabeth Rodriguez

Wow. You talk about someone having a very bad day. Elizabeth Rodriguez decided to drop three of her friends off at a stranger’s home, have them break into the house and steal things, and then sell the stuff and get a lot of money. And this was going to happen in Oklahoma, which is actually only nineteenth in the country for guns per capita with 12.3 guns per 1,000 people. That’s nearly one and a quarter guns per 100 people or a 1.23 chance in 100 you are going to meet an armed person in a break in. Or find a gun in a break in. Which really means you are as likely to meet someone who is armed, and obviously not in the mood to talk about the virtues of gun control with you as you are to get a free gun.

Zachary Peters, who happened not only to be one of those people with 1.23 guns, is also one of the people who owns an AR-15, and clearly, knew not only how to use it but when to use it and he opened up on the three guys who kicked in his door with the intention of robbing his house and taking his 1.23 guns. If the one gun you have in your 1.23 gun collection is an AR-15, you’re very likely not to have it taken from you if it’s loaded and you’re trained.

All three of these men are now dead. None of them were over twenty-one years old, the youngest was sixteen. Breaking and entering isn’t child’s play.

One of them, wounded and bleeding badly, made it out of the house and back to the car, and seeing her wounded buddy, Liz left the scene in a hurry. We can suppose she heard the gunshots.

Later, Elizabeth Rodrigues called the cops and spilled her guts. According to Oklahoma law, she can be, and likely will be, charged with three counts of first-degree murder. She is culpable because she drove the three there to rob the house and now she has to accept the consequences of her actions that day. This is a mug shot of Elizabeth Rodriguez. She is twenty-one years old right now. I wrote this, and I posted this whole thing this week so you can look into this woman’s eyes.

This is what it looks like to be terrified. Three people are dead right now because of her involvement in a crime. She left one of them to bleed out and die. A man slightly older than she has to live with the idea he’s killed three people, and Elizabeth here, judging by the look on her face, realizes that she’s going to prison for the rest of her life, at age twenty-one.

But then again, “Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The state has executed the second largest number of convicts in the United States (after Texas) since re-legalization following Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. Oklahoma also has the highest number of executions per capita in the country.” —Wiki

Personally, I think this is the kind of case the Death Penalty was made for. But then again, at age twenty-one, life without parole is one hell of a long hard road.

Either way, Liz, you bought this ticket and paid for it with someone else’s blood.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

32 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – The sins of Elizabeth Rodriguez

  1. Putting aside the logic of charging her with three counts of first degree murder, the question is what to do with her, if convicted without a plea deal?
    Life without parole? The average life span of females is 81 – 21 = 60 years.
    The cost of keeping a max security prisoner in OK is $28,652 X 60 = $1,719,120.
    Of course she probably won’t live another 60 years in prison, but with inflation the cost will go up.
    Executing her isn’t cheap either. I’m assuming she doesn’t have the money to hire F. Lee Bailey, so lawyers on both sides through the mandatory appeals process, then the execution add up.
    I’d suggest it would be humane to hang a locket around her neck with a cyanide capsule so she can opt out any time she wants.
    Do I sound cold and calculating?
    I am, she’s trash, a burden on society, and a bad example to children of all ages. So the only question is to incinerate or landfill.


  2. Yes, this is a tragic situation.

    But I agree: Zachery should be free and learn how to deal with what happened. Liz also has to deal with what happened–and take whatever punishment is dealt out; since she is responsible for 3 murders, capital punishment makes sense.


  3. Mike, I think your article would make for excellent discussion in a high school ethics class. It’s a shame that articles written in the paper do not present the information as clearly as you did here. The stupidity of her actions and the tragic outcome for everyone really hits home.
    I hope counsellors, teachers, parents, and teens all have a chance to read your op-ed and discuss the resultant effects of the decisions made.
    Thanks for the article.


    • Dianne, I just wish they’d teach metal shop and welding in high schools again, as well as useful things that can be done with the hands. That’d put an end to a lot of this, I think.

      Those three guys in that house could have been out working. Maybe they didn’t know how. Maybe they just needed someone other than Elizabeth leading them.

      Thanks you for your kind words.


  4. “…this is the kind of case the Death Penalty was made for”? I’d say that statement belongs to things like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine massacre, the Charleston church shooting… You know, the kind of events that were planned and designed to kill. She may have been directly involved in the events that led to the death of three men, but she in no way planned for them to die. (It’s possible that the death of the homeowner was considered, but that was not the primary motivation for the crime as stated here — it was to steal and sell.)

    This woman made a huge mistake and she should pay some kind of penalty. But executing her for this is too much. If we’re going to start dealing out harsh penalties based on the impact of the crimes, let’s do the same with other crimes too. Let’s start with the mass poisoning of the Flint water system, murders by uniformed police officers, and the millions of dollars effectively stolen from our retirement by Wall Street banksters.


    • HJ,

      Let’s start with the mass poisoning of the Flint water system, murders by uniformed police officers, and the millions of dollars effectively stolen from our retirement by Wall Street banksters.

      I’m good with that. You might be able to talk me into life without parole for her. I saw an interview with her and I’m pretty certain she is more stupid than evil.

      Still, she heard the shots and she left someone to die. That’s pretty damn evil.


  5. I think HJ makes excellent points. If the death penalty must exist at all, it should be reserved for the crimes HJ mentions (which in the Flint case will actually go unpunished.)

    I think life in prison is, and should be, a far worse punishment than death. My only quibble with prison sentences is that all prisoners should have to do something valuable to society for a good 40+ hours a week — sew clothes for starving orphans or something — nothing money-generating so it wouldn’t take away jobs that free people (and companies) would not otherwise do but something that would give them a responsibility toward their other human beings on this planet.

    I’m most afraid that this story will encourage more people to feel they should “protect their homes” with assault-style weapons, despite the reality of how seldom a home invasion is, when people are there. . . . which will increase the odds of another Newtown massacre.


  6. ugh — I can’t delete or edit my comment to clarify that I think prisoners should NOT do work that free people and companies WOULD otherwise do (so people aren’t put out of work because prisoners supplanted the jobs.) So . . . here you go.


    • Elagie, I am not a big fan of the AR-15. I think the same results could have been had with a lesser weapon and maybe one of the three might be alive. But inside your own home there isn’t any excess when it comes to making sure there’s only one story at the end of the night.

      Personally, I think if he would have walked in with a shotgun and tagged the first guy the other two would have ran like hell, and then…wait, we’d have two more we would be wondering what to do with.



      • “Lesser Weapon”? – the AR-15 is not that powerful, My 12 gauge, .308 amd 30-06 all fire much more powerful rounds; the 5.56 round is relatively small as rifle rounds go; the AR-15 is simply a popular and well designed rifle that shares some characteristics with the M-16/M-4 but it is a Semi-Automatic; not Fully Automatic like the M-15/M-4.

        a 12 Gauge loaded with “what”? – a 12 gauge slug will knock a hole through a Cinder Block wall and still have sufficient force to kill people for quite a distance on the other side; 12 Gauge rounds with smaller pellets shoot multiple projectiles in a spreading pattern; those can easily penetrate most walls in homes and apartment complexes; How close were her neighbors? What was between her and her neighbors? what would have been behind the target she was shooting? – a 12 Gauge is quite likely a poor choice in any situation where there are other homes or other apartment units nearby. also most 12 gauges are limited to 3 shells; not a lot when you are facing multiple assailants.


        • I can’t edit my previous post; I typo’d “M-15” – i meant M-16; the M4 also has three round burst selector which is also not an option on the AR15).


          • Keith, I knew what you were saying. I agree that in an apartment setting, or a neighborhood, less is better, but we’re dealing with an anomaly here: clearly the homeowner knew what he was doing and didn’t just start pulling the trigger and emptying the magazine. I think most people would have prayed and sprayed and an AR-15, or anything else with a lot of bullets would have been a bad idea.

            What do you think of a 12 guage with #8 shot at close range in that situation?


            • There are some good home defense rounds specifically for use in shotguns that won’t even penetrate a 3/8″ sheet of drywall; #8 shot with enough powder behind certainly can penetrate many walls; If you are going to use them look for “low recoil” loads which have less powder and won’t typically penetrate walls.

              Also I mentioned that most shotguns only hold 3 rounds which is a standard limit for hunting however if you aren’t using the gun for hunting you can remove the block to allow more shells (i.e. most mossbergs can hold 5 full 3.5″ shells);

              in a home defense situation you also need to consider your ability to aim the weapon and see what you’re going to hit; I don’t like shooting at dark shadows in the middle of the night; with my AR-15 I have a tactical light mounted on the side with a remote switch wired to the forward grip; a simple squeeze of my finger it sends a bright beam in the direction the barrel is pointing; At close quarters it is bright enough to temporarily blind an attacker; it also allows me to be absolutely certain what is hiding in that shadow before i squeeze the other finger. There are some tactical shotguns that have rail mounts that could support this capability but that’s not what you find on the typical shotgun. I carry a similar light mounted on my glock (underneath the barrel) for the same reason. in almost every situation if I am checking out a noise in the middle of the night I grab the Glock first because it’s much easier to manuever and aim when clearing rooms in tight quarters. a rifle or shotgun is quite long when you’re in a narrow hallway.


              • Keith,

                I can see the reason in the way you operate, and it’s logical. And you also seem to be purely defensive in your lead slinging, which a lot of people miss when looking at weapons. In my situation, I live a very long way from anyone else, and live with four dogs in the house with me. What most intruders won’t know is that there is no light here. None inside and none out. I can safely assume when the dogs lose their minds in the middle of the night there is a reason far beyond a random deer or small mammal. If the front door gets kicked in all I have to do is blast a hole in the dark that is over dog head high and whatever I hit needs it.

                The people who live around this part of the world never approach anyone’s house without permission. Everyone has my number. We’ve never sat down and spoken the words but no one ever goes anywhere on anyone elses property without notifying the owner. I threw down on a coyote who was sneaky enough to come up on the porch and steal food. It was raining like hell and I fired six shots.

                Ten minutes later one of my neighbors showed up on a four wheeler with a rifle across the front. He parked in front of my house and called me to see what had happened. His son had parked in the driveway with a slightly illegal version of a AR-15 in his lap, but I couldn’t see him and neither could anyone who might be in the house.

                I don’t shoot very much or very often. They assumed there had to be a reason. They even took the coyote with them.

                I’m not sure what America is supposed to look like, but I’m pretty sure the people around me would live there.


  7. I think your figures on gun ownership is wrong. By a lot! 12.3 guns per 1000 is way low. Some stats say there are more guns than people in the U.S. There were actually more than 12.3 per 1000 sold in Oklahoma last year. Criminals beware


  8. As soon as she is officially charged with three counts of murder she should be taken out back and put to death. Better yet, make sure there are a bunch of other lesser cases on that day and let all of those criminals watch. Might open a few eyes and make them think that the road they chose is the wrong road. I know this is not a popular opinion but there it is. No appeals dragging on for years, just take them out back and turn their lights off permanently.

    On another note, this drug they use to bring heroin overdoes back to life, can’t remember what it’s called…should not be available to people with a history of overdosing on heroin. It’s obvious that they don’t care if they die so let them die. I say this even though my own sister did herself in with the junk. She didn’t want help, she didn’t want to be part of society…all she wanted to do is get high. Useless. I disowned her as a sister 40 years ago. She was someone I used to know. Let them die. And what does accidental overdose on heroin mean? If you inject it into your body then it wasn’t an accident. You put it into your system and you just rolled the die. Sorry I’m rambling…I live in a small town where at least 3 times a week the EMT’s have to revive someone. Quit helping them, let them go.


    • That’s way Harsh, Max, when talking about the OD thing, but I can’t tell you another way to solve it. I don’t think it should be illegal in the sense that we ought to put people in prison for it because that hasn’t worked yet. Killing them or letting them die isn’t the answer either.

      I’m also not open to the idea of instant execution. But what if they had a year and a free lawyer to get it done or get put to sleep?

      A year? Eighteen months? But twenty years? No thanks, I rather see it done the day of than let it go that far.


  9. I agree there are differing stats depending on where you look. But if OK is number 19 with only1.2% people with guns then how could there be over 300 million guns in the U.S.? That would leave 31 states with less than 1.2% gun ownership and that I find hard if not impossible to believe.


  10. The reality of this is probably not what anyone with common sense and decency would like to see happen. Case in point…

    1. The young woman that Mike refers to here has been charged with 3-counts of first degree murder, burglary, and a few other charges. She will no doubt plea to lesser charges and serve only 5-10 years and get parole for good behavior plus the fact she cooperated to a point, but her leaving someone, injured and to die, will be used against her.

    2. The young men who died had actually, as I understand it, burglarized the same home earlier that same day. They had assaulted the homeowner and his son was there when they came back. Obviously intending to re-commit a crime(s) and were armed with knives and brass knuckles.

    3. Deadly force, or the threat thereof, was met with deadly force. The weapon used to stop these young men, the AR-15 rifle, is deadly accurate in the right hands. Much more accurate and easier to control than most pistols. To think otherwise is just plain foolhardy.

    4. A quick fix, quick sale, and cash versus 8 hours at McDonald’s for minimum wage then losing to taxes is a very powerful drug in its own right.

    The drug used to reverse a opiate high is called Naloxone, or Narcan. Having used it countless time as a Paramedic, I can say sometimes it is a complete waste. You administer the drug, revive them, and transport and the thanks you might get is NADA. Then there is the issue of the druggie does it again next week. Doesn’t pay their bills and well you get the picture.

    I used to believe that we saved them from overdosing because it was what they wanted and we were doing it because they wanted to live. Now it is a waste of resources spent on an unappreciative recipient who no doubt will do it again all over again and again. Never mind the pain they cause(d) or the expenditure of resources just do it and don’t complain.

    Seriously, when is enough going to be enough?

    If it comes to putting this young woman to death for her crimes I would not lose sleep. If she gets out or found not guilty she will do it again because it wasn’t her fault, etc.


    • David, that’s pretty damn cynical, but likely pretty damn accurate. But I don’t see her getting out of jail in less than twenty,if she gets out at all.

      What is a total waste is treating drug users like criminals. Even though the do overlap quite a bit there is no real evidence this was any more than a quick hit instead of the drudgery of working, as you pointed out.

      Still, you’re to the point and to the bone. Thanks.


  11. It really becomes a matter of what one believes is a proper punishment. If you are of the “a life for a life” crowd than the issue is simple. If you are of “death isn’t good enough for her” crowd, then life without parole would be your choice.

    If the cost issues are factored in the equation, the former is said to be more costly.
    The latter, while at first glance may appear a good thing for the guilty, often ends up being a fate worse than death.

    Either way the goal of removing negative elements from society is accomplished. In the end, which resolution is preferred may question one’s own ethics as to which is less or perhaps more cruel.


    • CAI, I personally think it’s wrong, in most cases, for us to seek revenge but we ought to make an example out of her and we ought to make sure she’s put away long enough she won’t do it again.

      I think execution is mishandled in this country and therefore ineffectual.


      • Like you, I believe the death penalty is used a bit liberally. I also believe it still needs to exist, especially in extreme cases. Treason comes to mind as well as those that plan mass shootings. The latter, however, tend to be murder/suicide cases. With so many cases finding those on death row innocent, a society must come to grips with its need for what they see as appropriate punishment.


  12. Yes, an AR15 gets the job done, but can leave a lot of collateral damage in the house (walls, siding, etc.). Try a 12 gauge loaded with .00 buckshot. Cleaner and more effective. On my property, I feel safer with a good guard dog doing her thing, and me, backing her up with a gun.
    In a year or so, we won’t even remember the perps names, but she will still be taking up space and costing us resources. Maybe she can be sent to our border and do some hard time building the wall…


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