A 33-year-old Wapato man is being held in lieu of $2 million bail on charges he killed two people, including the mother of his child, on New Year’s Day.
Luberto Fernandez Rodriguez is charged with aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Rocio Ramos-Martinez and first-degree murder in the death of Alfred Anaya, a 67-year-old Toppenish man who was killed when authorities say Rodriguez rammed his pickup truck head-on into Anaya’s vehicle near Wapato High School.
He is also charged with attempted first-degree murder for the injuries Anaya’s wife received in the crash, as well as kidnapping Ramos-Martinez and their 2-year-old daughter.
If convicted on the aggravated murder charge, Rodriguez would be sentenced to life without parole under state law.
Rodriguez made a telephonic appearance in court Wednesday afternoon from the infirmary at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, where he was transferred Tuesday after being released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he had been treated for injuries from the crash.
Court documents provided new details about the killing of 30-year-old Ramos-Martinez and Anaya.
YPD was first called around 4:10 p.m. Jan. 1 for a woman being attacked in front of the Yakima YWCA at 818 W. Yakima Ave. A caller told police that a man later identified as Rodriguez drove up in a pickup truck, and broke out the window of Ramos-Martinez’s car, according to a probable cause affidavit.
He then drove off with Ramos-Martinez and the child in the car toward the former Astria Regional Medical Center on West Chestnut Avenue, the affidavit said.
A security guard at the Astria site called 911 and said Rodriguez had stomped on Ramos-Martinez’s head, took the child from the car and came back with the pickup truck and ran over the injured woman multiple times, the affidavit said, before leaving.
Yakima police Capt. Jay Seely earlier said the security guard was an unarmed 20-year-old woman, and it was understandable that she would stay back rather than risk her own life. In the affidavit, the guard said she was going over to check on Ramos-Martinez after Rodriguez drove off.
Ramos-Martinez, who sought a protective order against Rodriguez last year, was found in the street with injuries to her head, as well as what appeared to be wounds on her hands that were consistent with being slashed by a box cutter knife, the affidavit said.
She was taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and later transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died Jan. 4 of multiple blunt-force injuries, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Rodriguez’s family in Wapato later called the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office’s dispatch center to say they had the child. His family members said Rodriguez came to the house and said he had killed someone and left, threatening to kill himself, according to the affidavit.
When officers found the 2-year-old girl, she was unharmed but had blood stains on her clothes, the affidavit said.
At 4:45 p.m., Washington State Patrol officers received reports of a pickup truck headed south in the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 97 in Wapato without headlights, the affidavit said. Two minutes later, troopers received reports of a head-on crash on the highway near Wapato High School.
Anaya, 67, was killed in the crash, while his passenger, Esperanza Anaya, 65, was seriously injured and taken to Memorial Hospital.
Rodriguez was also injured in the crash and taken to the Yakima hospital before being transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Judge Kevin Naught concurred with prosecutors’ recommendations for $2 million bail, $1 million for each of the homicide victims. Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned by video call on Jan. 27.
Ramos-Martinez and Anaya were the first of three homicide victims in Yakima County this year.