Rodriguez v. State

953 S.W.2d 342 (1997)

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Rodriguez v. State

Texas Court of Appeals
953 S.W.2d 342 (1997)

KL

Facts

Albert Ray Rodriguez (defendant) was charged and convicted of felony murder after shooting a gun at a car in which James Beaty was a passenger. Rodriguez and Beaty knew each other, and Rodriguez claimed Beaty had threatened his life and that there had been a drive-by shooting near Rodriguez’s parents’ home shortly before Beaty’s death. On the day Rodriguez shot Beaty, Beaty was riding in a car driven by his girlfriend when it drove past Rodriguez’s parents’ house. Rodriguez recognized Beaty in the passenger seat, panicked, and retrieved a gun he had recently purchased. The car drove past Rodriguez’s house again, and Rodriguez fired at the driver’s-side door approximately eight times. Beaty and his girlfriend were both hit by bullets, and Beaty died. At Rodriguez’s trial, the court instructed the jury that Rodriguez could be found guilty of felony murder if it found that Beaty died while Rodriguez was committing the felony of deadly conduct when he discharged his gun. Rodriguez appealed his conviction, arguing that under the felony-murder-merger doctrine, he could not be guilty of felony murder if the murder and underlying felony were part of the same act. The state argued that deadly conduct could serve as the underlying felony for a felony-murder charge because Texas law only expressly omitted manslaughter as an underlying felony for a felony-murder charge.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Onion, J.)

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