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Jailhouse Confession Leads to Conviction of 1995 Murder of Snake River Teenager
The brutal slaying of a teenage girl remained unsolved for 26 years. Now, witnesses say they saw the defendant covered in blood at a party.
Gilberto Flores Rodriguez, 58, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 1995 slaying of 14-year-old Regina Krieger. The jury’s verdict came in after only a few hours of deliberation at the Cassia County courthouse in Idaho. In 2019, authorities arrested Rodriguez on suspicion of murdering Krieger in her Burley, Idaho home.
Krieger’s father, Dan Krieger, reported her missing on Feb. 28, 1995, when he discovered she wasn't in her basement bedroom. Mr. Krieger said he last saw her in the family home shortly before going to bed. According to East Idaho News, the father reported blood on his daughter’s bathroom floor that trailed upstairs and out to the backyard.
Nearly two months later, horseback riders came upon the teenager’s body on the banks of the Snake River, not far from the Minidoka Dam. Someone had slashed her throat and stabbed her in the heart.
After years of questions, Gilberto Rodriquez was arrested in Feb. 2019 when three previously unidentified witnesses came forward with information. According to Idaho court records, a witness, now identified as Cody Thompson, told investigators that he was with Rodriguez on the night of the murder. Thompson, who was 16 at the time, told investigators that he watched the then-32-year-old Rodriguez scale Regina Krieger’s fence on the night she was killed. Thompson also admitted to jumping the fence to defecate on the property while Rodriguez entered Krieger’s basement bedroom.
Rodriguez returned 30 minutes later with blood on him, telling Thompson that he “messed up.” Soon, he reentered the Krieger home and returned with the body wrapped in a blood-stained blanket. He instructed the teenager to help him put Krieger in the trunk. Together, they drove to the now-defunct Jackson Bridge, which once connected Cassia and Minidoka counties, and threw Krieger into the Snake River.
According to the Idaho State Journal, Cody Thompson is currently serving a life sentence for rape.
Two other witnesses supported this testimony, with one woman testifying that on the evening of the murder, Rodriguez and Thompson showed up to a party covered in blood. She also claimed that she saw Rodriguez and Thompson bury a knife on the property.
The murder weapon has never been recovered.
Several people claimed that Rodriguez often bragged about the murder.
Rhonda Hunnel, Krieger’s mother, could not be reached after jurors reached a verdict. However, she spoke to MagicValley.com shortly after Rodriguez’s arrest.
“I don’t need people to be angry and say things like ‘I hope he burns in hell,’” Hunnel told the website. “This needs to be about Gina, and she wouldn’t want that.”
Neither Rodriguez's attorney, Keith Roark, nor the prosecuting attorney's office could be reached for comment.
Rodriguez’s sentencing is scheduled for August 26, 2021.