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A Texas man has pleaded guilty to murdering his estranged wife by tossing her from a highway bridge into a lake with a slab of concrete tied around her neck.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for 36-year-old Rodolfo Montes Arellano, of Fort Worth, for his role in the death of 28-year-old Elizabeth Arellano. Instead, Arellano will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The body of Elizabeth Arellano, a medical assistant and mother of four, was recovered on April 16, 2016. Rodolfo was arrested 10 days later and at first denied his involvement.
Witnesses had seen her plummet into the water from the Interstate 820 bridge. Fort Worth homicide Detective J. Cedillo noted the horror of the scene in an arrest warrant affidavit.
“One witness described hearing what sounded like screams on the way down,” Cedillo noted, according to to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
A 119-pound slab of concrete was found tied around her neck.
Police had at first assumed the death was a suicide, but a medical examiner determined it to be a homicide, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Elizabeth and Rodolfo had been together for 13 years but she had planned to divorce him shortly before the killing.
Detectives believed that Rodolfo had waited for Elizabeth outside her home before kidnapping her, a fact confirmed by surveillance video. Police later found matching slabs of concrete in Rodolfo's truck and yard.
Prosecutor Allenna Bangs said that Elizabeth's family felt comforted by the conviction.
“The idea that he is going to admit it and he is going to say that it is him and that he is guilty brought them such a level of peace,” Bangs said. “Elizabeth Arellano was a mom and a daughter and a sister and friend and the people who love her know that they can’t have her back. So knowing that he is in prison for the remainder of his natural life and that is not going to change and knowing the comfort that brought them is what puts us where we are today.”
Victim impact statements will be read in court next week.
[Photo: Tarrant County Jail]
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