Man convicted of killing girlfriend in DC due in Va. court next week for trial in 1989 murder

In Dec. 2017, Derrick Butler watched as D.C. police searched near I-95 in Stafford County for the remains of his sister, Pamela, who was murdered in 2009. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Jose Angel Rodriguez-Cruz — who is serving 12 years in prison for the 2009 murder of girlfriend Pamela Butler in D.C. — will appear in a Stafford County, Virginia, courtroom next week to stand trial for the 1989 murder of his estranged wife.

Rodriguez-Cruz was indicted in Stafford County in October 2019 on charge of first-degree murder and concealing the dead body of Marta Haydee Rodriguez, who vanished in 1989.

In October 2017, Rodriguez-Cruz was sentenced to a dozen years, after confessing to killing Butler in the basement of her D.C. home.

Rodriguez-Cruz is being held in the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security facility in West Virginia. Sources tell WTOP he will be transported by Stafford County sheriff’s deputies to Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford.

Rodriguez-Cruz is expected to make his first court appearance via video. According to court records and sources, Rodriguez-Cruz does not yet have a lawyer.

In his initial appearance, Rodriguez-Cruz will be informed of the two charges — first degree murder and concealing a dead body — as well as the maximum sentence of life in prison.

Marta Rodriguez was 28 when she disappeared from Arlington. Her remains were found in 1991 in the median of Interstate 95 in Stafford County but were only identified by DNA testing in 2018.

Butler’s brother, Derrick, told WTOP he expects to be at Rodriguez-Cruz’s first court appearance. He spearheaded efforts to have Rodriguez-Cruz charged in Virginia, since his plea agreement in D. C. would allow him to eventually be released from prison.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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