After he shot his girlfriend, Kairis Godwin, last year, Marco Rodriguez carried her from her third-floor Frankford apartment, down two flights of stairs, splattering her blood on the floors and walls.
Outside, he lay her on the sidewalk and undressed her in the February chill after the early-morning shooting. Witnesses who saw them called 911.
By the time police arrived, about 2:30 a.m. Feb. 25, Rodriguez, then 20, had brought Godwin back inside, making it to the second-floor apartment. Godwin, 24, was pronounced dead at Frankford Hospital-Frankford about 40 minutes later.
Yesterday, Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan sentenced Rodriguez to 15-to-35 years in prison for third-degree murder. He was also sentenced to one-to-five concurrent years for weapons offenses.
Durwin Godwin, the victim's father, cried in the courtroom as the sentence was imposed and said softly, "Thank you, Jesus."
Outside the courtroom, he said he was happy that Rodriguez will do hard time. "It was unnecessary, stupid," he said of his daughter's death. "She tried to take care of this knucklehead and he killed her."
Rodriguez, now 21, of Meadow Street near Duffield in East Frankford, expressed remorse yesterday as he had at an earlier sentencing hearing.
On Feb. 7, the judge heard impact statements from both families and the defendant, but waited to impose a sentence. Attorneys had wanted to see if there would be a resolution in two other cases Rodriguez faces on drug charges. (Instead, the drug cases have been listed for trial.)
In explaining his actions to the court, Rodriguez had said at the earlier sentencing hearing that he was "high, playing with a gun" when he shot Kairis Godwin in the left armpit while her then-3-year-old son, Kye Hurt, was in the apartment.
His aunt, Guadalupe Rodriguez, whom he called "Mom," testified: "I know he didn't mean to do it. I know he's sorry."
For Durwin Godwin, the pain of his daughter's death won't go away. He lives around the corner from where she used to live, and will no longer see her walking down the street.
"She was laying on the ground outside like an animal," Durwin Godwin testified in his impact statement.
"You don't pick up a gun and stand and pull the trigger and call it an accident," he said. "There's nothing any of us can say to erase this pain."
Daniel Rendine, Rodriguez's court-appointed attorney, said his client took Godwin outside her apartment on Unity Street near Wingohocking and "took her clothes off to try to find the bullet wound" after the gun went off and he panicked.
Durwin Godwin believes that Rodriquez dragged his daughter's body outside to make it seem like someone else had shot her, then brought her back inside when he heard police coming, he said yesterday outside the courtroom.
The judge found Rodriguez guilty of third-degree murder and weapons offenses in a December bench trial.