A Superior Court jury on Monday concluded that an Anaheim man accused of the brutal murder of a man in a Garden Grove café was sane at the time of the incident.
According to the Orange County District Attorney, the jury at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana found Robert Gabriel Rodgers, 23, to be mentally competent when he killed Cesar Ramirez-Raphael at the Volcano Tea House on Nov. 14, 2014. Rodgers had been convicted on Oct. 3, 2017 and pleaded not guilty because of insanity.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Rodgers was convicted of one felony count of first degree murder and with sentencing enhancements for special circumstances/lying in wait and personal use of a knife. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 20, 2017 to one felony count of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17.
In the 2014 incident, Rodgers laid in wait outside the business, starting at about 9 a.m. — 30 minutes before the tea house was scheduled to open.
Rodgers was wearing a belt around his neck and toting a backpack containing a hammer, hacksaw, bolt cutters, several screw drivers and 14 large plastic bags. He also took pictures of himself with a Polaroid camera.
Ramirez’s routine was to arrive early, lock himself inside and clean the tea house in preparation for opening. The killer intentionally created a disturbance, perhaps faking an injury, in an effort to lure Ramirez to the front door, the prosecutor said.
When Ramirez unlocked and opened the door, Rodgers immediately lunged at him, and stabbed him repeatedly. A five-minute surveillance video that captured the violent encounter was shown to the jury.
After stabbing Ramirez, Rodgers dragged the victim to the rear of the tea house and started mopping up the crime scene. When Rodgers noticed that Ramirez was still alive and was on the floor attempting to reach for a door, he kicked the victim, the prosecutor said.
Behind the Badge OC contributed to this report.
Categories: Courts & Law