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Jailhouse interview: Killer talks about lessons learned, life behind bars
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – What goes on in the minds of killers? And after they do some time, do they feel sorry for the crimes they commit? In a jailhouse interview, KGUN9 News sat down with a person some consider a cold-blooded murderer and talked to him about the lessons he's learned during his time behind bars.
Frankie Rodriguez, 30, is surprisingly upbeat given that he’s at the Pima County Jail and he likely won’t ever get out of here. Almost a decade of his freedom is gone, after the jury found him guilty in April 2003 of two murders.
Court records show that one of his crimes started at an east side Blockbuster. It’s where he held a gun to the head of 23-year-old nurse Amanda Gerber, stole her car and took her to an area of the northwest desert where she was shot as she clutched her asthma inhaler.
“We have to decide how many chances people can get before they can go out and destroy families like these two people did. And I’m going back home to try to put my family back together,” Gerber’s mother said after the verdict.
But it wasn’t just Gerber’s body in the desert. Police also found 21-year-old Dana Hall, who was also shot to death two weeks before Gerber, after being carjacked and kidnapped. Rodriguez was found guilty of Hall’s murder too.
“We were young, off the wall at point. Most of us are a lot older, so that’s where doing time comes in, because we’ve learned to relax and treat people with respect,” Rodriguez told reporter Claire Doan.
Rodriguez would not discuss the case with us (with possible pending appeals on the cases), but Doan did ask him why he thinks people commit crimes without fearing punishment.
“The majority of us have a superman complex: ‘It’s not going to happen to us,” Rodriguez responded. “A lot of cats out on the streets in street gangs and things like that – this is what they’re raised for. This is what you learn. You learn to expect this at some point in time so when it comes it’s not a big surprise.”
Rodriguez has spent a lot of time in jail studying criminal law and he said he’s learned a lot about life too.
“It all comes down to, ‘Nothing is worth this.’ I’d rather panhandle on the street, be homeless, as horrible as people think those conditions are. At least you’re free. You have a choice of what you’re going to do, even if you’re scrounging for food,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez believes he’ll one day be free.
“I’ll go and be what we call regular civilians. Go be a square. I’ve got nothing to do with what brought me here, you know what I’m sayin,’ Rodriguez said.
But while he’s still holding onto his dream, those of Amanda Gerber and Dana Hall are gone forever.
Frankie Rodriguez will serve the rest of his natural life in jail for the two murderers. Jail officials said there is another case against him for trying to escape the prison on Wilmot by holding a corrections officer hostage.