Vt. Man Drops Bid Over Rights Waiver

A Vermonter charged with shooting a Woodsville man and kidnapping a woman has abandoned his request to have several incriminating statements he made thrown out of federal court, strengthening the hand of federal prosecutors who have filed several charges against him.

Omar Rodriguez’s attorney recently filed documents in U.S. District Court in Burlington withdrawing the request, in which Rodriguez said that he made statements to police while under the influence of alcohol and medications that impaired his judgement. The attorney, Michael Desautels of Burlington, did not give any explanation in the court filing, and could not be reached for comment.

Rodriguez, a St. Johnsbury, Vt., man who has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and car jacking in the March 2012 attack on Steve Rodimon, his estranged wife’s boyfriend, claimed that he suffers from several physical and mental health disorders — including depression, personality disorder, diabetes and kidney failures — and that he was on opiates and other medications when he provided details of his alleged crime to police.

“His medical and physical conditions, the medications that he had been prescribed, and opiates and alcohol that he had ingested before the incidents, appear to have vitiated his ability to waive (his) Miranda (rights) knowingly and voluntarily,” Desautels argued.

Prosecutors had opposed the request, arguing there was no evidence to support Rodriguez’s claim, and alleging that he told fellow inmates that he would dodge criminal prosecution by “pretending to be incompetent.”

Rodriguez has been found fit to stand trial on charges of shooting Rodimon and kidnapping Tina Evans, Rodimon’s co-worker, outside the Ocean State Job Lot in St. Johnsbury.

Around 9:30 p.m. on March 5, 2012, Rodimon and Evans walked outside of the Ocean State Job Lot when Rodriguez, wearing a mask and holding a gun, approached them, according to court documents.

As the men struggled, a shot was fired, and Rodimon was hit. Rodriguez ordered Rodimon to get inside the trunk of his own car. When Rodimon questioned him, Rodriguez allegedly shot him in the stomach, according to court documents.

He then forced Rodimon into the passenger’s seat, and ordered Evans to drive them to the Comerford Dam in Barnet, Vt. He forced her to drive around the Twin States for hours, and, during the odyssey, called his estranged wife and told her that Rodimon had “holes in his body,” according to the affidavit, and that “someone is going to die tonight.”

He eventually surrendered to police near the P&H Truck Stop in Wells River, Vt.

During the ordeal, Rodimon was shot four or five times, according to an FBI affidavit, including once in the stomach and once in the chest. He was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, where he remained for months while undergoing multiple surgeries, according to court documents.

State court documents show that Rodimon had sought a restraining order against Rodriguez just weeks before the incident, saying Rodriguez had repeatedly threatened him and slashed his tires.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.