1999 Murderer Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison

1999 Murderer Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison

“SALINAS, California- Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced today that Jimmy Torres Rodriguez, age 52 of Visalia, was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the 1999 cold-case murder of Elias Diaz. In December, a jury convicted Rodriguez of first-degree murder and found true a special allegation that Rodriguez personally and intentionally discharged a firearm resulting in the victim’s death.

Diaz, age 39, was a father of seven children and the owner of a Salinas car dealership at the time of his murder. On November 19, 1999, Diaz was shot and killed by a person pretending to be a customer interested in purchasing a vehicle. The shooter fled the scene and abandoned the murder weapon and the distinctive clothing he was wearing in a trash can a few blocks away. Recent DNA testing on the clothing items, along with corroborating witness testimony, linked Rodriguez, then age 27, to the murder.

The Honorable Rafael Vazquez, who presided over the 11-day jury trial, sentenced Rodriguez to the maximum punishment available by law.

The case was investigated by Salinas Police Department Sergeant Ruben Sanchez and District Attorney Investigator Kris Hunsaker, with the valuable assistance of many current and retired Salinas Police Department officers and the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services Crime Laboratories in Watsonville and Richmond. The victim’s family was supported by Victim Assistance Advocate Susana Reyes.

In 2020, District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni established the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Task Force, which was designed to investigate, solve, and prosecute cold-case homicides in Monterey County. Salinas Police Department has been an integral part of this effort to obtain justice for victims and their families. Multiple other agencies within the county are also partnering with the Task Force on unsolved homicide cases. For more information, please visit https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/district-attorney/cold-case-task-force.

Since the establishment of the Cold Case Task Force, four defendants have been convicted of cold-case murders at jury trial. One homicide suspect was identified but died before the confirmation of a DNA match. In addition, four individuals are pending trial for cold-case murders and two more are pending trial for cold-case sexual assaults.”


1999 Murderer Sentenced to 50 Years to Life in Prison was last modified: March 5th, 2024 by admin
Categories: Monterey