Casper Murder Defense: It’s Not Sexual Assault If Victim Is Already Dead
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: The below story contains a description of a November 2019 murder-rape in Casper. Additionally, this story describes autopsy photos jurors viewed during testimony in the trial. Discretion is strongly advised.
Asking for charges to be dismissed during a murder trial Thursday, a Casper defense attorney said his client could not have sexually assaulted a woman if she was already dead.
"You cannot sexually assault a corpse," Marty Scott argued in Natrona County District Court, adding Wyoming does not have any laws regarding such an act.
Scott is representing Anthony Rodriguez, who is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and domestic battery in the November 17, 2019 death of Mary Fogle.
Under Wyoming law, someone commits felony murder if, while committing sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, arson, robbery, burglary, escape, resisting arrest, kidnapping or child abuse they kill another person.
Prosecutors say after Rodriguez brutally beat and stabbed Fogle to death, he sexually assaulted Fogle.
Allison Solis, Rodriguez's wife, testified that she was at an "arm's length" from him when the incident occurred. She told jurors on Tuesday that after the incident, Rodriguez said, "Now I finally know what it's like to f--- your mom."
Arguing for sending the felony murder charge to jurors, Assistant Natrona County District Attorney Mike Schafer cited statements Rodriguez gave investigators stating he believed Fogle was still alive when he sexually assaulted her.
In video shown to jurors on Wednesday, Rodriguez is seen telling El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff's Office Detective Jon Price that he had sex with Fogle "Just that one f----d up time.
"I did that weird s--t to her," Rodriguez says in the video. "She was still alive I think.
Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey rejected Scott's argument. The charges as they stand are expected to go to a jury on Friday.
Fogle's DNA Found On Rodriguez
Wyoming Crime Lab analyst Amber Hiranka testified that DNA that likely belonged to Fogle was found on Rodriguez's genitals.
Hiranka further testified that seminal fluid was found in Fogle, but the amount was too small to find a source.
Under cross-examination, Hiranka testified that it's possible that Fogle's DNA ended up on Rodriguez by the simple fact that he and Fogle lived under the same roof. Scott suggested that DNA could be transferred by Fogle and Rodriguez sharing a bath towel, for example.
Hiranka agreed that's possible.
Jurors See Autopsy
On Thursday, prosecutors called their final witness: Forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Bennett.
Bennett walked jurors through photos taken when he performed Fogle's autopsy.
The photos showed injuries to Fogle's face that rendered her unrecognizable. Bennett testified that they were caused by some sort of blunt object forcefully striking her face.
"Her face is completely disfigured," Bennett said.
Bennett testified that Fogle suffered a severe type 2 Le Fort fracture, a type of fracture when bones in the face separate from the skull. He added that Fogle was beaten so severely that her nose had separated from her face along with the top portion of her jaw.
She also suffered severe head injuries during the course of the assault.
Jurors also viewed photos showing at least seven slash marks to Fogle's neck. On top of that, Bennett said she was stabbed below her Adam's apple and the object used damaged her spine.
Fogle had "copious" amounts of blood in her lungs, too, Bennett said.
The trial will resume Friday morning.