June 4, 2018 - 2:20 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A 20-year old Rock Valley man will spend up to 75-years in prison in connection with the death of his grandfather, and setting the grandfather’s house on fire.

According to the Sioux County Attorney’s Office, Santos Rodriguez, Jr. pled Guilty Monday morning in Sioux County District Court to 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Arson, in an apparent plea deal.

The case against Rodriguez, Jr. arose in late October last year, when Rock Valley firefighters responded to an overnight fire alarm. Authorities say fire crews arrived to find the home on fire, and reportedly learned that an elderly male was still inside. Police entered the home, in an attempt to save the elderly male, but the blaze had engulfed the structure. When authorities were able to enter the residence they reportedly discovered the body of 84-year old Luis Luevanos of Rock Valley, who was Rodriguez Jr’s. grandfather.

Authorities say an autopsy determined that that Luevanos died as the result of three knife wounds to his body.

Rodriguez, Jr. Was reportedly located in Utah in the days following his grandfather’s death. At that time, agents of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation flew to Utah to interview Rodriguez, Jr, who, they say, admitted to stabbing his grandfather, and setting the house on fire. Rodriguez, Jr. had originally been charged with 1st Degree Murder, and 1st Degree Arson, in connection with the crime.

On Monday, following his Guilty pleas to 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Arson, authorities say Rodriguez, Jr. was sentenced to 50-years in prison on the 2nd Degree Murder charge, and 25-years for the 1st Degree Arson, with the sentences to be served consecutively, for a total of 75-years. Officials say that, by law, Rodriguez must serve a minimum of 35-years before he would be eligible for work release or parole.


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