Houston Man Behind 2018 Crime Spree That Left Three Dead Receives Five Life Sentences

Houston Man Behind 2018 Crime Spree That Left Three Dead Receives Five Life Sentences
Jose Gilberto Rodriguez

A man responsible for a week-long crime spree in north Houston in July 2018, during which he killed three people and robbed two others, has been sentenced to five life terms and $20,000 in fines, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 51, a convicted sex offender who was on parole at the time, pleaded guilty to three counts of capital murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. The crime spree, marked by violence and horror, led prosecutors to initially consider seeking the death penalty.

Rodriguez, who had removed his ankle monitor to evade detection, agreed to three sentences of life without parole, to be served consecutively. He also pleaded guilty to two armed robberies, receiving two additional life sentences, each to be served consecutively. Additionally, Rodriguez agreed to pay fines of $10,000 for each armed robbery. The plea deal bars him from appealing the convictions or sentences.

The crime spree began on July 9, 2018, when Rodriguez robbed an elderly man at gunpoint during a home invasion. Subsequent events unfolded over the course of the week, including the murder of Pamela Johnson, 62, the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Allie Barrow, and the shooting of a 22-year-old METROLift driver who survived. The spree culminated in the killing of Eduardo Magana inside a Mattress One store.

Rodriguez, a habitual offender recently paroled from prison, did not offer a motive for his actions during Tuesday’s hearing. If the case had gone to trial, he could have faced either life in prison without parole or the death penalty, with the possibility of appealing both the conviction and punishment.

Assistant District Attorney Samantha Knecht and ADA Mary McFaden handled the case, expressing gratitude to law enforcement, including the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, for their efforts. Knecht extended sympathy to the victims’ families and surviving victims.