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Monday, Jun 10 2013 05:14 PM

Condemned murderer of elderly woman dies of natural causes

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    By Steve Swenson / The Californian

    Timothy Rodriguez, who was sentenced to death for killing 90-year-old Thelma Long, has died in custody of natural causes, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Monday.

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BY COURTENAY EDELHART Californian staff writer cedelhart@bakersfield.com

An inmate condemned for the fatal 2007 beating of a 90-year-old Bakersfield woman died, June 2 of natural causes, Corcoran State Prison announced Monday.

Timothy Rodriguez, 44, was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Thelma Long, and was involved with an unlawful sex case against a former Kern County sheriff's detention deputy.

Margarita Young took a plea deal for a misdemeanor charge in 2010 after having sex with Rodriguez, then an inmate at Lerdo Jail, while she was employed as a detention deputy.

Rodriguez died of end-stage liver disease at John D. Klarich Memorial Hospital at Corcoran State Prison.

Prior to his conviction, Rodriguez had worked for Long doing odd jobs and yard work. One night in 2007, Rodriguez entered her house through an unlocked door and demanded money, ostensibly for yard work he had performed. When Long and her daughter Catherine Reeves told him to leave, he attacked them with an aluminum baseball bat.

Long died at the scene, but Reeves survived and identified Rodriguez as the person who attacked them. He was arrested later that day and sentenced to death Jan. 6, 2010.

Corcoran opened in 1988 and houses 4,395 minimum-, medium-, maximum-, and high-security custody inmates.

Since 1978 when California reinstated capital punishment, 60 condemned inmates (including Rodriguez) have died from natural causes, 22 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, six have died from other causes, and one cause is pending, according to the corrections department.

There are 734 offenders on California's death row.

 

 

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