MADISON — A former Norfolk woman was sentenced to prison on Thursday for a 2019 shooting that left a man seriously injured.
Jamie Rodriguez, 28, appeared in district court on Thursday before Judge James Kube alongside her attorney, Korey Reiman.
Rodriguez was facing a second-degree assault charge stemming from a shooting in February 2019 in which she shot Julian Vazquez-Rodriguez in the groin area inside her car in southern Norfolk.
According to court documents, a bullet went through Vazquez-Rodriguez’s genitalia before entering and exiting his right thigh. Reports show that he lost 4 pints of blood in the shooting and, after originally being transported to Faith Regional Health Services, Vazquez-Rodriguez had to be transported to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha to treat his injuries.
Rodriguez initially told police following the shooting that Vazquez-Rodriguez had attempted to sexually assault her, but she later recanted those claims. There was no evidence that a sexual assault had occurred, according to pre-sentence investigation reports.
On Feb. 3, 2019 — the night of the shooting — Rodriguez and Vazquez-Rodriguez had gone out drinking and later got into an argument while driving around in Rodriguez’s car. The two got out of her car in a deserted area in southern Norfolk and shared a smoke before getting back into the car.
Rodriguez alleged that she had repeatedly told Vazquez-Rodriguez that she didn’t want him around any longer and, after he kept refusing to leave her alone, she pulled out a gun.
In court Thursday, Rodriguez told Kube that she was intoxicated the night of the shooting and didn’t remember everything that happened. Reports indicated that Rodriguez pointed the gun at Vazquez-Rodriguez for nearly two minutes before firing at his groin area.
Knowing Vazquez-Rodriguez had lost a significant amount of blood, Rodriguez decided to drive Vazquez-Rodriguez to her ex-boyfriend’s residence instead of taking him to the hospital, said Matthew Kiernan, deputy Madison County attorney.
“She could have taken him to the hospital, but she pulled up to her ex-boyfriend’s house and sat there and waited for him to show up,” Kiernan said. “That in itself is extremely telling.”
Rodriguez argued that Vazquez-Rodriguez had told her they would tell authorities the shooting was an accident, and that she believed he was manipulating the situation and got scared. That’s why Rodriguez decided to take the victim to her ex-boyfriend’s home instead of the hospital, she said.
“He still tried to control the situation and manipulate it to his benefit. I knew that I wanted him to be OK, so I needed somebody to help him,” Rodriguez said in court. “But he still tried to say certain things to manipulate the situation, and it scared me.”
Kube, who grilled Rodriguez with questions during her sentencing hearing, said that no matter the situation, somebody should have the presence of mind to take a profusely bleeding individual to receive medical care.
“I think you’re extremely fortunate that he wasn’t killed — that he didn’t bleed out,” he said.
Rodriguez had initially faced five counts stemming from the shooting, but after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in March, she had four counts dismissed.
Kiernan did not recommend for or against probation in court but noted that Rodriguez had already been given a generous plea deal. In addition, the charges Rodriguez was facing could have been much more significant if the end result was different.
“There was literally a stream of blood on the ground leaving his body,” Kiernan said. “In this particular case, he was shot in the genitalia, which isn’t far from the femoral artery. We’re lucky he was shot where he was. Well, he wasn’t so lucky.”
Reiman acknowledged that there were conflicts between Rodriguez’s statements and what reports indicated, but she was simply trying to wrap her head around a difficult situation.
“One thing Jamie does remember is fear. She remembers being scared in the car,” Reiman said. “Maybe she misread the situation.”
Reiman requested Kube give Rodriguez a probation sentence, as she didn’t have a significant prior criminal history and has undergone outpatient care.
Kube, however, said that reports indicated there were no valid reasons for Rodriguez to pull the trigger.
“There are enough discrepancies here in what happened that make this a difficult case for me,” Kube said. “I’ve thought about this for a long time. ... From the information that’s been provided to me and the information I’ve learned today, I’ve concluded that this is not a probation case.”
Kube then sentenced Rodriguez to a term of 5 to 8 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. She was given credit for 55 days served and will first be eligible for parole after serving 2½ years of her sentence.
An emotional Rodriguez sobbed as her sentence was handed down in front of her family.
“If there had been other factors involved, it’s possible that I would have come to a different conclusion,” Kube said. “But you pointed a loaded gun at someone and shot them. It’s my opinion that you need to be held responsible for that action you took.”