Jury reaches split verdict in case of woman shot, run over and left for dead
A York County jury handed down a split verdict in the case of Roberto Rodriguez III after a long trial in which Rodriguez testified he had no choice but to comply with his co-defendant's orders.
Rodriguez, 21, was convicted of aggravated assault with extreme indifference for his role in running over a woman and leaving her for dead in rural York County in June 2020. However, the jury acquitted him of attempted murder, conspiracy and another count of aggravated assault.
The woman, Meredith Keltner, survived the attack.
At trial, Rodriguez said it was his co-defendant, Francisco Torres Rivera, who shot Keltner and that he had no choice but to drive Torres River from the scene, running the woman over as they left.
Torres Rivera, 30, of York, faces the same charges as Rodriguez and is set to be prosecuted separately after the cases were severed in February.
Rodriguez testified that he was an addict who sold marijuana and Percocet at the time of the incident. Torres Rivera, he alleged, was a pimp and a dealer out of a so-called trap house in the 200 block of East Princess Street, while also apparently noting he either fronted Torres Rivera cash to buy drugs or drugs to sell.
Rodriguez said he believed Keltner was one of Torres Rivera’s prostitutes.
He denied Keltner’s statements that he had a silver gun, or that they fought at the motel. The morning of June 12, they woke up, checked out and stopped at a convenience store before Rodriguez drove Keltner back to East Princess Street on his way to work, he said.
There, Torres Rivera came down and climbed into the backseat of Rodriguez’s car while asking for a ride, Rodriguez testified. Keltner also seemed to stiffen and grow quiet, he said. Rodriguez thought they were going out on a drug buy, but about five minutes into the drive, as they left the city, he said, a bad feeling started settling in him.
“I felt weird," Rodriguez testified last week, "but it’s normal for me to give him rides. I didn’t really go with my guts at all."
After giving the two a ride to a remote area of North Codorus Township, Rodriguez testified that Torres Rivera told him to pull a U-turn and then ordered Keltner to walk from the vehicle.
Rodriguez alleged Torres Rivera pointed the gun toward the woman’s head and fired four or five times, tracking her as Keltner dropped to the ground. Torres Rivera allegedly then hopped back into the car, pointed the gun at Rodriguez and told him to drive.
Sentencing in Rodriguez's case is scheduled for May 31. He is being held at York County Prison on $200,000 bail.
The next hearing in Torres Rivera’s case is scheduled for May 23. He's also being held at York County Prison on $2 million bail.
York Dispatch staff contributed to this report.
— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.