How Did Angelina Rodriguez Poison Frank?

older Angelina Rodriguez. grayscale.
Angelina Rodriguez

I did not kill my daughter. I did not kill my husband.

Angelina Rodriguez

Sadly, it is hard to believe her.

young Angelina Rodriguez with dog.
young Angelina with dog

Angelina had a rough childhood in Rockaway Beach, New York.

Angelina and older sister Gigi said their grandfather molested Angelina from childhood through high school. Teenaged Angelina attempted suicide and aborted Grandpa’s baby.

However, Angelina is beautiful. She used marriage to improve her life.

Husbands

Four men married Angelina:

young, happy Angelina Rodriguez at a party.
Who Married Angelina Rodriguez?
Marriage LengthHusband
under 1 yearHector Gonzalez
3 yearsTom Fuller
under 1 yearDon Combs
under 1 yearJose Francisco “Frank” Rodriguez

Each husband knew Angelina less than a year, when they married her.

Angelina married and divorced Hector Gonzalez in 1987. She married and divorced Don Combs in a few months.

Let’s start with Tom Fuller.

Marriage to Tom Fuller

Angelina Rodriguez wearing Air Force uniform.
Angelina Rodriguez

In 1990, Angelina enlisted in the Air Force. She met Thomas Fuller while they were stationed in Colorado.

Thomas married Angelina three months later. Two babies completed their family. Autumn, the first child, was normal. However, Alicia was born prematurely, with an abnormally slow heart.

Did Angelina Rodriguez Murder Her Daughter Alicia Fuller?

Angelina Fuller aka Angelina Rodriguez with baby.
Angelina Fuller with baby

Sick babies are not fun. But what can you do?

Clairvoyance

Husband Tom Fuller, Angelina, Autumn and Alicia traveled to Michigan for a vacation in late 1992, or early 1993. A customer noticed Alicia’s pacifier, and approached them during lunch.

…she wanted to let us know that she was pretty sure that that pacifier was part of a recall.

Thomas Fuller

Angelina bought a $50,000 life insurance policy on her sick baby Alicia, without telling her husband.

Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier Recall and Lawsuit

Gerber recalled Nuk Orthodontic Pacifiers, because the pacifier sometimes separated from the nipple. Babies could choke on a piece of the pacifier, if the parts separated.

Angelina acquired at least one of the recalled pacifiers. She allegedly waited until Mr. Fuller left town on a business trip, to choke baby Alicia with a “faulty” pacifier.

Did a Pacifier Kill Alicia Rodriguez?

Angelina called 911 for her 13 month old Alicia, on September 18, 1993.

Firefighter David Mandeville was surprised to meet Angelina outside waiting for the ambulance, although Alicia was in her crib.

…where a child or infant is choking, the parents are with the child.

Santa Barbara County Firefighter David Mandeville

Mandeville removed a piece of plastic from Alicia’s throat, and started CPR. Paramedics arrived, but they could not save Alicia.

Deputy Sheriff Ralph Ginter found the pacifier pieces in Alicia’s room. He went to the hospital with Angelina. Angelina asked Sheriff Ginter for the plastic pacifier backing.

…she wanted to keep it, that the manufacturer or company that she purchased it from is going to pay, and she didn’t want this to happen to another child

Deputy Sheriff Ralph Ginter

Alicia’s Autopsy and Lawsuit

Dr. Wallace Carroll performed Alicia’s autopsy. He concluded that Alicia accidentally choked to death.

Angelina and Thomas hired attorney Barry Novak to sue Gerber. Novak sent two pieces of the pacifier to Dr. Wolfgang Knauss, a professor at the California Institute of Technology.

Where is the Report?

Dr. Knauss did not believe the pacifier broke accidentally.

…the ultimate failure as it now appears and documented in these photographs is not consistent with that scenario.

Dr. Wolfgang Knauss

Attorney Novak sent the pieces to Dr. Gary Hamed, a professor at The University of Akron, for a second opinion. Dr. Hamed disagreed with Dr. Knauss.

Dr. Hamed believed the pacifier failed because it was, “degraded in some way.”

Gerber did not know about Dr. Knauss’s report.

Homicide Detective Brian Steinwand discovered Dr. Knauss’s report during a search of Angelina’s home after her arrest.

Angelina and Tom received a $710,000 settlement for her daughter’s “accidental death,” besides the life insurance payment.

Marriage Ends

The Fullers divorced after Alicia’s death.

There’s times when all I want to do is see her dead.

Then there are times I’m just not 100% sold on it.

And then maybe I’m in denial that I could marry someone who could have done something like that.

Thomas Fuller

Angelina replaced Alicia with a house, boat and car.

If I’d wanted to kill my daughter, I could have just let her die from the bradycardia.

Angelina Rodriguez

21 Years Later…

Prosecutors investigated Alicia Fuller’s death to present evidence during Angelina’s murder trial.

They portrayed Angelina Rodriguez as a serial killer, motivated by insurance payments.

Angelina Rodriguez denied killing her daughter, but nobody believed her.

Circumstantial Evidence

Too many coincidences?

There was ample evidence that defendant murdered her daughter.

About two months before Alicia died, defendant took out life insurance on the baby without telling her then husband, the baby’s father, and named only herself the primary beneficiary.

This circumstance alone strongly suggests she murdered her daughter to collect the life insurance proceeds, just as she later murdered her husband to collect on a life insurance policy that she insisted he take out.

She was the lone adult in the house when the baby choked to death and, rather than remain with the baby until emergency help arrived, as the jury could reasonably find a mother would normally do, she left the baby inside and met the police outside her house.

After her daughter died, she seemed more concerned about collecting the pacifier parts and suing Gerber than about losing her baby. Thomas testified that defendant had previously heard about Gerber’s recall of the pacifier on which the baby later choked.

Additionally, Dr. Knauss’s testimony strongly supported a finding that the baby’s death could not have been an accident, especially when combined with defendant’s deposition testimony that she continually checked the pacifier by pulling on it.

His opinion was especially credible given that defendant herself had retained him.

People v. Rodriguez

I do not know if the Fullers returned Alicia’s life insurance payment.

Angelina Marries Frank Rodriguez

Angelina and Frank Rodriguez. Source: Dateline
Angelina and Frank Rodriguez. Source: Dateline

Ms. Rodriguez joined the Army National Guard after her marriage to Tom Fuller.

She worked for Angel Gate Academy, a (former) camp for troubled sixth and seventh graders on a National Guard base in San Luis Obispo, California.

Jose Francisco Rodriguez, aka “Frank,” was a special education teacher at the base.

On The Rebound

Jose Francisco 'Frank' Rodriguez
Jose Francisco ‘Frank’ Rodriguez

Frank was “on the rebound” after a failed 14 year marriage. He joined a Pentecostal church, and quit drinking and smoking.

Frank met Angelina after she accused a colleague of sexual activity with a student. Frank was the only one who believed her. Angelina quit or resigned after this incident.

But Frank fell for Angelina. They met in February 2000, and married in April.

The couple moved to Montebello, California, hometown of Scott and Laci Peterson.

Frank taught special education at a middle school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Angelina and Frank Rodriguez Needed a Divorce

Angelina Rodriguez Source: Murderpedia Angelina thought Frank, a devout Christian, was overly strict with Autumn.

He was everything, I was nothing…I just wanted out.

Angelina Rodriguez

Unfortunately, instead of requesting a divorce, Angelina persuaded Frank to buy life insurance. In July 2000, Frank Rodriguez bought a $250,000 policy and made Angelina the sole beneficiary.

In August 2000 Angelina began an affair with Matt Morones, an ex-convict and old friend. By September, she had enough of Frank.

Angelina brought Frank to the emergency room on September 6. He could not keep food down. Frank experienced similar symptoms for two months.

Frank thought someone at work was poisoning him.

Sadly, like Bobby Joe Morris, the hospital released Frank to his probable poisoner.

Rodriguez and her daughter Autumn “treated” Frank with Gatorade and soup for three days. Angelina found him dead at 3 AM on September 9, 2000.

Angelina Rodriguez Finds Frank’s Killer

Angelina Rodriguez smiling
Angelina Rodriguez

Poor Angelina. Autumn stopped speaking to her Mom, because she believes she unwittingly helped poison her stepfather. The life insurance company would not pay Angelina, because the autopsy concluded Frank died of “undetermined causes.”

Anonymous Tip

The greedy widow told police she received an anonymous telephone call. The caller knew how Frank died.

According to Ms. Rodriguez, the anonymous caller said:

Ask them about antifreeze. Angelina Rodriguez

Toxicologists tested Frank for antifreeze. Frank Rodriguez received a large dose, a few hours before his death.

Angelia Rodriguez should have expected police to check her phone. Investigators did not find the anonymous call in her cell phone records.

We might never have solved the case if she wasn’t talking.

Detective Brian Steinwand

Police arrested Angelina for poisoning Jose Francisco Rodriguez in February 2001.

Her relentlessness in her effort to pursue her goals was matched only by her stupidity.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Doug Sortino

Life Insurance is Better than Divorce

Pamela Gorham testified that she asked Angelina, “Why don’t you divorce this one like you divorced all your other ones?”

No, this one has got a life insurance policy…If I were to kill him, at least I’d end up with a little bit of money.

Angelina Rodriguez
screenshot from police recording of Angelina Rodriguez told that she in under arrest.
You’re under arrest. Police recording. Source Dateline.

Ms. Rodriguez claimed her husband committed suicide by drinking antifreeze, because she did not kill him.

If I admit responsibility, then I’ll lose everything. I lose all hope.

Angelina Rodriguez

Death Sentence

In October 2003, jurors convicted Angelina Rodriguez of first degree murder, “under the special circumstances of murder by administering poison and murder for financial gain.”

She was also convicted of trying to arrange for a witness’s murder from jail.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders sentenced Rodriguez to death.

In the past 20 years, I have never seen a colder heart.

Judge William R. Pounders

Ms. Rodriguez is prisoner X02712 at Central California Women’s Facility, in Chowchilla.

Proposition 66 for Condemned Inmates

California citizens can add or change laws with ballot propositions.

For example: actor Mike Farrell, best known as Captain Hunnicutt on the M*A*S*H television show, wanted to end executions in 2015. Mr. Farrell filed papers, collected signatures, got it on the ballot as Proposition 62.

However, California prison guards and police supported Proposition 66, “Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016.”

Proposition 66 would speed up California executions by limiting appeals, etc. Additionally, this measure would allow California to move inmates off Death Row, into cheaper housing.

A YES vote on this measure means: Court procedures for legal challenges to death sentences would be subject to various changes, such as time limits on those challenges and revised rules to increase the number of available attorneys for those challenges. Condemned inmates could be housed at any state prison.

Official Voter Information Guide

If voters approved both propositions, the proposition with the most votes would be accepted.

Despite Mr. Farrell’s efforts, California voters decided to execute Death Row inmates faster.

After a legal challenge, California Supreme Court approved Proposition 66 in 2017.

Finally, on January 29, 2020, California started a two year pilot program to enact parts of this legislation. But it is not what you expect.

NEW Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program

The Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program (CITPP) offers male Death Row inmates a chance to be transferred to another prison, and live with the general population.

Angelina Rodriguez is one of twelve condemned female prisoners in California.

The Condemned Inmate Transfer Pilot Program will not allow her to transfer to a new prison. However, she can request a move to a different part of the prison.

Angelina Rodriguez can live with the general population, and participate in “rehabilitative programs” with them.

Angelina Rodriguez Might Get a Real Job

CITPP also offers “enhanced job placement opportunities” to inmates on Death Row. Condemned prisoners must pay 70% of their wages to victims as restitution.

Ms. Rodriguez must apply for this program, and be accepted.

Who Protects Witnesses?

Witness testimony put inmates on Death Row.

Angelina Rodriguez plotted to murder a witness, from prison. This crime is fairly common. Drew Peterson got 38 years for allegedly plotting to murder the District Attorney from prison.

Ms. Rodriguez might have good intentions. But Death Row inmates have nothing to lose, except their job, if they murder a witness on their lunch hour.

I hope California protects witnesses from condemned inmates out on a day pass.

Write to Angelina Rodriguez

Send Mail to Angelina Rodriguez

Angelina Rodriguez X02712
Central California Women’s Facility
P.O. Box 1508
Chowchilla, CA 93610

Mail is inspected by prison staff, before delivery.

Read How to Contact an Inmate for additional information.

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One thought on “How Did Angelina Rodriguez Poison Frank?

  1. Does Angelina know Lori Ryan Vallow or have any connections to the Cox family? Lori’s maiden name is Cox. This story sounds a lot like the story about Lori Vallow with the deaths and insurance money.

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