Las Cruces man takes plea deal in 2017 murder of roommate

Crime

LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — A Las Cruces man accused of murdering his elderly roommate in 2017 accepted a plea deal Thursday, accepting responsibility for her murder.

Santino Rodriguez pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder, Tampering with Evidence and eight counts of Unauthorized Theft of the Card of another. As KTSM previously reported, Rodriguez, 44, lived with Karla Mann when she was found dead inside her Las Cruces home in January 2017.

Evidence at the scene indicated Rodriguez bludgeoned Mann to death with a hatchet in late January but wasn’t discovered until concerned neighbors alerted authorities on February 12, 2017.

Rodriguez had been Mann’s roommate for several years and was spotted on neighbors surveillance cameras entering and leaving the home throughout early February. Investigators say Rodriguez used Mann’s credit card at several businesses after her death and before the discovery of her body.

As part of the plea deal, Rodriguez could face up to 28 and a half years in prison. His sentencing will be scheduled for a later date.

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