CEDAR CITY – A 5th District Judge sentenced a Cedar City man to a minimum of 15 years to life Tuesday for his role in the 2014 murder of Shawn Multine.
Judge Keith Barnes ordered Eric Albert Rodriguez, 31, to spend at least 15 years in the Utah State Penitentiary. The sentence was the minimum Barnes could give for a first-degree felony murder case.
Rodriguez is the second of three defendants to be sentenced for Multine’s murder – the other defendants included the victim’s stepdaughter, Clarissa Bulletts, and her ex-boyfriend, Angelo Seth Carrasco.
Multine’s sister, Shana Multine, and his aunt, Eileen Posvar, addressed the court at Rodriguez’s sentencing, asking that Barnes hold the defendant accountable for his choices.
The two women also spoke directly to the defendant expressing the pain they have felt with the loss of their loved one.
“What he (Rodriguez) did ruined our lives,” Posvar said. “We have to live with this every day knowing that we’ll never see him (Multine) again, that we’ll never talk to him or have him here to laugh or joke with us because of the choice you (Rodriguez) made that night. You also ruined your life, you ruined your family’s life because of the choice you made, and I hope you can live with that – you deserve everything you’re going to get.”
In an emotional plea that touched the hearts of many in the courtroom, Shana Multine spoke about forgiveness of those who killed her big brother.
“It wasn’t right what they (the defendants) did to him that night by taking his life,” Shana Multine said. “Whatever sentencing you give today, it’s not going to bring him back. But I know for us to move on, there’s a time we have to forgive what they’ve done to us as a family and let go of that hatred and all that anger we have towards them. Today I want to say I forgive him (Rodriguez) and what he did to my brother.”
Later in the day, Shana Multine spoke with Cedar City News and shared her personal experience these last two years and the process she went through to find forgiveness.
“His death tore me apart. It shattered my life. I had so much anger and so much hatred,” Shana Multine said. “I had to go to counseling for myself and to find a way to forgive the people who killed my brother. I had to realize that my brother is in a better place and that he’s happy. And I had to learn to let him go and accept what happened in order to forgive them but I knew I had to forgive them or it would destroy me.”
Rodriguez read a two-page letter in court expressing his remorse for his role in Shawn Multine’s death.
“There hasn’t been a day I haven’t thought about how Shawn lost his life,” Rodriguez said. “No one deserves that.”
The defendant’s apology at court Tuesday provided some closure for Shana Multine, allowing her an opportunity to put this part of the case behind her.
“It was an emotional day. This whole thing has been a struggle, but knowing Eric apologized and owned up to his part in my brother’s death made me feel a little better,” Shana Multine said.
According to the charging documents, Bulletts and the two men drove to the area of Shawn Multine’s home located on the 100 East block of 575 North the night of Oct. 26, 2014. Bulletts attempted to lure the victim away from his home to a secluded area via text message.
When that didn’t work, she stayed in the vehicle while Rodriguez and Carrasco went to the home, where Carrasco shot Shawn Multine with a 270 rifle.
Then before leaving, Carrasco assaulted a woman in the home. Rodriguez helped Carrasco dispose of the gun. They returned to Bulletts’ vehicle and fled the scene.
In an interview with Cedar City News following his client’s sentencing, Rodriguez’s attorney Brian Jackson said the case is one of the saddest he has ever worked on.
“It’s just a sad deal,” Jackson said. “Eric did not go to the home that night with the intention of killing Shawn but under state law he is guilty because a murder happened while in the commission of an assault or burglary.”
The night of the murder, Bulletts had told Carrasco and Rodriguez that her stepfather had been molesting her, Jackson said. Angry at hearing the information, the two men had Bulletts drive them to Shawn Multine’s home so they could “assault him.”
But unbeknownst to Rodriguez, Carrasco, who was Bulletts’ boyfriend at the time, had a rifle in the back of the car.
Later, Bulletts admitted to lying to Rodriguez and Carrasco about the sexual allegations against Shawn Multine but by then it was too late, Jackson said.
For Shana Multine, Bulletts’ lie that ultimately resulted in the death of her brother was one of the hardest parts of the case for her to forgive.
“I was so angry. It was eating me up inside to think he died because she had lied about him. It just tore me apart,” Shana Multine said.
The court originally charged the defendant with first-degree felony murder, aggravated burglary for entering a nearby home carrying a baseball bat, and obstruction of justice for helping to hide the gun and denying any involvement in the murder.
As part of the plea agreement, the court dismissed the two lesser charges and Rodriguez pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder.
Carrasco was arrested the day after the murder while Rodriguez and Bulletts were arrested later the same month on Oct. 31.
Bulletts pleaded guilty to second-degree felonies of manslaughter and obstructing justice in September as part of a plea agreement. She was sentenced to at least a year in prison and a maximum of 15 years on each charge. The sentence is to run concurrent.
Carrasco pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony of aggravated murder last December. He is scheduled for sentencing July 29.
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