Chipita Rodriguez

1153 WordsNov 18, 20115 Pages
Rodríguez was for many years known to be the only woman legally hanged in Texas. People think to be the daughter of Pedro Rodríguez, she moved with her father to San Patricio de Hibernia, Texas, and for several years after Rodríguez's death furnished travelers with meals on the porch of her lean-to shack on the Aransas River. When Cotton Road traveler John Savage was killed with an ax, because he had $600 in gold which he had been carrying, Chipita was accused of robbery and murder. Recovery of the gold from the Aransas River north of San Patricio, where the body was found in a burlap bag, raised substantial doubt about the motive for the crime, but Josefa Rodriguez and Juan Silvera were indicted on circumstantial evidence. After Chipita…show more content…
Chipita would not help in her own defense. The trial lasted most of a morning. The jury brought back a verdict before noon. Silvera was found guilty of second-degree murder and Chipita was found guilty of first-degree murder. The foreman Owen Gaffney read it out: “We, the jury, find the defendant, Chipita Rodriguez, guilty of murder in the first degree, but on account of her old age, and the circumstantial evidence against her, do recommend her to the mercy of the court.” Judge Neal did not follow the jury’s wishes. He gave Juan Silvera five years in prison and ordered Chipita to be hanged on Nov. 13, 1863. How Neal saw the case or why he imposed the sentence he did is a mystery. He made no sentencing statement and left no explanation that survived. Some of the trial records were burned in a fire in 1889; part of the court record survived. What information that survived suggests the evidence was not carefully considered, the case was wholly circumstantial, and there were no witnesses and no motive. Behind this great mystery is an untold story. Why Chipita would not help in her defense was never explained. Corpus Christi’s newspaper “The Ranchero” complimented the judge and jury for finding Chipita guilty and said, “We are decidedly pleased with our neighbors in San Patricio.” People in San Patricio weren’t much pleased with themselves. Prominent citizens in the town urged Sheriff Means not to carry out the sentence. Chipita was not known to be

    More about Chipita Rodriguez

      Open Document