Wallace 'Dido' RodriguesBy Susan Kreifels
helped kill a man over drugs,
the state contended
Amid tight security by undercover police, a jury convicted Wallace "Dido" Rodrigues yesterday of second-degree murder in what the state called a gangland-style killing over drugs.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said the trial had been a difficult one for jurors.
"It had everything from drive-by shootings and death threats to witnesses, to jurors being intimidated," Van Marter said, adding that as many as 20 Rodrigues supporters at a time had been in the courtroom staring at jurors.
"It had overtones of organized crime. It had to be somewhat intimidating for jurors. Despite that, justice prevailed."
Rodrigues, 34, of Waianae, was charged with helping gun down Leo Tuaoa on Feb. 23, 1990, in an alleged drug dispute.
Rodrigues is now serving time for manslaughter in the April 1995 shooting of Wayne Pemberton.
He also faces two other murder trials: in July, for second-degree murder in the death of Lorenzo Young, and next February, for first-degree murder in the death of William "Willy" Lau.
Van Marter said Rodrigues could have been out on parole in 2 years.
"He's been thumbing his nose at the law. That's over today."
With yesterday's verdict, Rodrigues faces a mandatory term of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Jurors also found him guilty of possession of a firearm and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime. That means he must serve a minimum of 15 years before he is paroled.
Sentencing is set for July 27.
Van Marter said eyewitnesses to the shooting of Tuaoa were the strongest evidence against Rodrigues. In November 1992, Glenn J. "Lionel" Sequin Sr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Tuaoa's death. The witnesses said Rodrigues helped shoot the victim.
Rodrigues family members sobbed after the verdict and said, "We love you," as he left the courtroom. They did not stand when the jury left.
His niece, Shantell Rodrigues, said the verdict was not fair.
"Evidence was admitted but most of it was discredited," she said.