Relationship Fears: Pregnant Girlfriend beaten to death in Tampa, man convicted

After two days of testimony, the Tampa man accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and his unborn child more than three years ago was found guilty on all counts.

Jay Rodriguez, who is facing murder charges, went on trial for the killings this week. The jury took more than an hour to reach a decision Wednesday evening. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Rodriguez spoke before closing arguments on Wednesday, admitting that he administered drugs to his pregnant girlfriend, Jennifer Barreras, but had no involvement in her death.

“When I left that night she was alive, and she was cussing at me like she always does when you have little respect,” he went on to say.

When his lawyer questioned if he had ever beaten her, Rodriguez denied it.

“I probably grabbed her to stop her from punching me anymore. “I was telling her I was about to leave, ‘don’t hit me anymore,’” he explained.

Relationship Fears: Pregnant Girlfriend beaten to death in Tampa, man convicted

Just hours before, Rodriguez was about to give up. His attorney, Carl Hayes, explained to the judge that he wanted to avoid the trial and reach an agreement with the state. After a quick huddle, prosecutors concluded no settlement and that the trial would proceed.

The abrupt judgment followed evidence from the medical examiner.

The medical examiner had just reported the devastating injuries that killed both the pregnant woman and her unborn child. A series of catastrophic strikes and stomps to the head left obvious tread tracks on her skull, which were eventually identified as the shoes Rodriguez was wearing that night.

According to prosecutors, Rodriguez beat Barreras to death in October 2020, when she was six months pregnant. Her roommate and friend Jessica Gonzalez heard her calls for aid and claimed that the petite mom was pushed against her bedroom wall and mercilessly punched.

“He was picking her up and slamming her to the ground at least four or five times,” Gonzalez stated on Tuesday. “Stomping on her and stomping on her stomach over and over again.”

The young mother did not survive the assault, and her baby was born via C-section but died minutes afterward. Rodriguez was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder.

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