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Jury deliberates in Rodriguez trial

Crime: Man charged with torturing, killing 5-year-old girl in a Castaic park bathroom

Posted: July 7, 2010 7:49 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2010 6:30 a.m.

SAN FERNANDO — Jury deliberations are under way this week in the murder trial of Antonio Rodriguez, 29, who is charged with sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter and killing her in a Castaic park bathroom.

A San Fernando Superior Court jury concluded its first full day of deliberations Wednesday, weighing graphic evidence that includes more than 100 photographs of Desarie Elizabeth Saravia’s injuries. The photographs indicate she was burned, beaten and whipped.

Judge Ronald S. Coen issued instructions to the jury Tuesday afternoon following closing arguments given by the accused man’s defense lawyer, Jack R. Stone.

Desarie was pronounced dead at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital on Nov. 12, 2004, after paramedics found her naked, lifeless body on the front lawn of a Sturbridge Drive home in Castaic.

The girl’s mother, Debby Saravia, remains in custody and is scheduled to be tried separately in her daughter’s death.

A source close to the case told The Signal that the mother’s trial will likely take place “a few months” from now.

Debby Saravia and her boyfriend, Rodriguez, were bouncing around between the homes of friends and relatives at the time of Desarie’s death.

Debby Saravia was reportedly working at a Sturbridge Drive home the day Desarie was killed.

Jurors deliberated for only 30 minutes Tuesday, then resumed behind closed doors all day Wednesday.

Rodriguez, 29, is charged with murder, torture, allowing a child to suffer, forcing a lewd act on a child and inflicting corporal punishment on a child, as well as two counts of allowing a child to suffer conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death and two counts of sexually penetrating a person against her will.


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