Downtown Orlando office shooter sentenced to life in prison - FOX 35 News Orlando

Downtown Orlando office shooter sentenced to life in prison

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The man convicted of murder and attempted murder stemming from a 2009 downtown Orlando office shooting has been sentenced to life in prison.

Last month, Jason Rodriguez, 44, was found guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Otis Beckford, 26.  He was also found guilty on all counts of attempted murder in the wounding of 5 other people in the offices of Reynolds, Smith & Hills on Nov. 6, 2009.  He sat trembling in his seat as the sentence was read by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Belvin Perry.

Earlier, the sister of Rodriguez sent a letter to the court saying the family blames mental illness for his actions.

"On behalf of the Rodriguez family please accept our utmost apologizes for the pain inflicted," she said. "I beg this court to have mercy on my brother Jason.  He's a mentally ill man."

Rodriguez's attorneys had claimed he was insane when he committed the acts.  Expert witnesses had testified for the defense that Rodriguez was a paranoid schizophrenic who thought others were conspiring to harm him.  He had also claimed that he heard a voice in his head, which he named "sharptooth," and this voice controlled his actions.  He had no reaction as the verdict was read.

Victim Keyondra Harrison said the tragedy could have been prevented.

"We act as if we don't know when someone's sick, or hurting or acting in a bad mental state, but we do. We notice when people aren't themselves and it's our responsibility as a society and as a culture to say you need to get some help."

The mother of Rodriguez wouldn't comment on the case, but she did talk about wanting to find a solution for mental illness.

"If I was well and healthier, I would join some kind of mental illness issue and deal with it. To help everyone that has mental illness."

But Harrison said, "It was his mother's job, it was his sister's job, it was his brother's job to say he needed to do something. Before he blew up."

Rodriguez was fired from RS&H for poor performance in 2007.  The prosecution said his actions were pre-meditated and that he had a grudge against his former employer.

Rodriguez told the judge he plans to appeal the sentence.


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