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A federal inmate in Virginia serving a 12-year sentence for the 2009 murder of his girlfriend in Washington, D.C. was sentenced last week to an additional 40 years in prison for the 1989 murder of his wife.
Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz, 55, was given the maximum sentence on Thursday after pleading guilty to the murder of Marta Haydee Rodriguez-Cruz, who went missing from Arlington in May of 1989. The 26-year-old’s remains were discovered along I-95 in Stafford, Virginia two years later but were not positively identified until 2018, according to the Washington Post.
Rodriguez-Cruz pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in his wife's death in November.
Charges had been filed against Rodriguez-Cruz in 1989 after his wife told authorities she had been assaulted and kidnapped by her husband. The Post reported that an Arlington County police officer claimed to have seen Rodriguez-Cruz dragging his bound and gagged wife along a street; however, before she was able to appear in court, she disappeared. Authorities have described Rodriguez-Cruz, a former military police officer, as having a violent temper toward women, the Post reported.
On the night of February 12, 2009, Pamela Butler, a 47-year-old computer specialist for the Environmental Protection Agency, disappeared after last being seen on the 5800 block of 4th Street in Washington, D.C. While Butler's family had suspected the involvement of Rodriguez-Cruz, her boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, he was not arrested until April 2017.
Months later, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after admitting he’d strangled Butler when, according to her family, she tried to break off their relationship; the reduced charge was on the condition that he would lead investigators to where he'd buried Butler’s body, the Post reported at the time.
"If he doesn't get any time, we're fine with that — we just want the body," Butler's brother, Derrick, told the Post in 2017.
However, when Rodriguez-Cruz led investigators to the burial location off I-95 in Stafford, the area had been dug up for construction and Butler’s Bones were not found. Other human remains had been found at the site, however, and a DNA test revealed a match with Marta Rodriguez. Soon afterward, Rodriguez-Cruz was indicted on a first-degree murder charge.
Marta Rodriguez’s autopsy report lists her cause of death as undetermined.
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