Oxnard gang member pleads not guilty to Bryant murder
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: September 27, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
The 28-year-old Oxnard gang member accused of shooting a Santa Paula woman in July appeared in court Tuesday to deny he murdered Angela Bryant of Santa Paula.
Andres Rene Rodriguez, 28, pleaded not guilty to killing Bryant, 33, on July 17 in a home in the 600 block of Ojai Road in Santa Paula.
When found by the owner of the home - who is not a suspect - Bryant was taken to Ventura County Medical Center, where she died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The shooting allegedly occurred at the tail end of a three-day crime spree by Rodriguez, a member of the Oxnard Chiques gang that went by the nickname “Wimpy” and who, while on the run following Bryant’s murder, let his hair grow in to hide tattoos on his head.
The homicide allegedly resulted from a dispute over property from July 15 through July 17 in Santa Paula. Rodriguez is also accused of attempted homicide involving a second victim, and kidnapping and robbery involving a third victim, according to the District Attorney’s Office. All three victims were acquaintances of Rodriguez, officials said.
At the time Bryant was killed Rodriguez was wanted for an attempted murder in Oxnard.
Aside from the murder Rodriguez faces numerous others charges ranging from kidnapping and robbery to intentional discharge of a firearm - a Mac11, 9mm - and wearing body armor; most of the charges are enhancements due to Rodriguez’s gang membership.
The Public Defender’s Office declared a conflict of interest in representing Rodriguez so the court appointed Willard Wiksell as Rodriguez’s attorney.
Superior Court Judge Kevin McGee ordered Rodriguez to return to Courtroom 12 November 13 at 1:30 p.m. for an early disposition conference.
Although bail remains set at $1.8 million, since Rodriguez was on parole at the time of the shooting he is ineligible for release and remains in custody.
Santa Paula Police arrested Rodriguez, who reportedly had vowed not to be arrested without a fight, September 10 at the border after he was detained in Mexico earlier this week, according to a police official.
A woman then suspected of being his accomplice in the homicide, Melissa Salazar, 35 of Santa Paula, was arrested in Mexico the following day.
Once Salazar was brought back to Santa Paula SPPD investigators determined that she had been outside the residence where Bryant was slain and was not an accomplice in the homicide.
Rodriguez in 2004 spent time in state prison in Lancaster for robbery, false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance. Paroled in 2007, he committed a new crime and returned to prison in 2009 for assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Rodriguez was released back to Ventura County in January 2012 and put under probation supervision. According to Oxnard Police, he was released from custody in April under the Post Release Offender Program.