A Texas woman who talked her new boyfriend into robbing and then using a toilet tank lid to slay her old boyfriend was sentenced to life in prison on Monday for the murder.
Eunice Cristina Rodriguez, 40, of Anthony, will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years, according to an official with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
Her co-defendant, Braylon Dominique Ellis, 28, received an identical life sentence in March and must also serve 30 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
Both were convicted in the murder of Tommy Brown, 51, of Fort Worth, who was previously in a romantic relationship with Rodriguez. Rodriguez told each man she was pregnant with his child.
“Eunice Rodriguez is a master manipulator,” said Bill Vassar, who prosecuted the case with Katie Heflin, Tarrant County prosecutor. “Whether it was lying about being a nurse, at least two pregnancies, or lying about being a victim of domestic violence, she was always out to take advantage of people. In 2002 she beat and robbed a defenseless 82-year-old man who counted on her for care and in 2013 she orchestrated the murder of another. Sadly for Tommy Brown, his generosity towards her cost him his life”.
Prosecutors presented evidence at her trial that Rodriguez passed herself off as a home health care worker in 2002 in El Paso and got a job taking care of an 82-year-old man who was blind in one eye and had one leg amputated, Vassar said.
Rodriguez beat him and robbed him, and was later arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated robbery, Vassar said. According to her relatives Rodriguez was released from prison in 2011, Vassar said.
Brown's sister found her brother’s body on Sept. 7, 2013, in his home in the 2400 block of Rattikin Road in east Fort Worth. She told police she found Brown facedown in a hall with his hands tied behind his back and his head covered by a white bag. Blood stained the hall walls outside the bathroom, and two sets of bloody shoe prints were on the kitchen floor.
Brown's television, wallet and Toyota pickup were missing.
The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled that Brown had been dead for two days and that the cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries.
After killing Brown, Rodriguez and Ellis went on a spending spree that emptied Brown’s bank account, Vassar said. Tom O’Brien, Fort Worth police detective, help track down the suspects through their use of Brown’s debit card, Vassar said.
It’s estimated the suspects took less than $200 in cash as a result of the murder, Vassar said.
The couple were arrested in Gwinnett County, Ga., on Sept. 10, 2013.
“Her right thumbprint was found on the victim’s cell when they were arrested in Georgia,” Vassar said. “We believe she was texting people acting as though he was still alive. She sent texts to Tommy's female co-worker at Bright Janitorial asking her to send money to a co-worker, Braylon Ellis.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.