HOUSTON (CN) – A parolee suspected of killing two mattress store workers and a woman in her home within the past five days was arrested by sheriff’s deputies in suburban Houston on Tuesday.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference early Tuesday that a resident of a neighborhood northwest of Houston called in a suspicious vehicle around 6:15 a.m., leading to the arrest of Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder.
Deputies who were already in the area responded within minutes, Gonzalez said, and saw a Nissan Sentra that police had been searching for which belonged to Edward Magana, a 57-year-old Mattress One employee, found shot to death in the store along Interstate 45 Monday afternoon.
After a brief car chase, Gonzalez said deputies arrested Rodriguez, 46, and seized a pistol that was in the car.
“We are very relieved this morning because we feel that he was possibly casing the area… which he was known to frequent. So it was possible that he was looking to score his next victim,” Gonzalez said.
Local media reported that Rodriguez’s parents live near the neighborhood where he was arrested.
Rodriguez, a registered sex offender, had been living at a halfway house in Houston. Theresa Williams, the home’s owner, told the Houston Chronicle he was a hardworking, quiet man who helped out with chores and had a job at a Tyson’s factory where he had recently been promoted.
She said he left the house to do laundry last week and never returned, the Chronicle reported. Police said Rodriguez cut off his ankle monitor.
At a press conference Monday night, Harris County sheriff’s deputies and Houston police said they suspected that in addition to killing Magana, Rodriguez had murdered Allie Barrow, a 28-year-old Mattress Firm employee, whose body was found by a store manager between two mattresses Saturday; and 62-year-old Pamela Johnson, who was found dead in her home Friday.
Born in Illinois in 1972, Rodriguez has a checkered criminal history with convictions for attempted aggravated sexual abuse, criminal trespassing, auto theft and burglary.
He was in prison in Texas from 1990 until he made parole in September 2017, the Chronicle reported. He first moved to a halfway house in Dallas then moved to the Houston halfway house in December.