WASHINGTON - A D.C. Superior Court judge has found probable cause to continue the first-degree murder case against the ex-boyfriend accused of killing Pamela Butler.
Tuesday’s daylong hearing featured new details in this eight-year old case that included Jose Rodriguez-Cruz giving conflicting statements to police after his arrest.
Rodriguez-Cruz told the detective in an interview that lasted six hours that the last time he saw Butler, she was staring at him from a window with her arms crossed. But on the day after her disappearance in February 2009, he told Butler’s family and police that the last time he saw her was when she put on her running shoes as she headed out for a run that night.
Police testified Rodriguez-Cruz also changed his story on how their relationship ended. In 2009, he told the police he suspected that Butler was cheating on him. However, in their most recent interview, he told the officer that he had no reason to believe she was cheating.
But perhaps the most extraordinary part of Tuesday’s court hearing came at the end when the judge summed up all of the evidence he had heard, which included the number of times Rodriguez-Cruz was seen on surveillance video leaving and entering Butler’s house during Valentine’s Day weekend in 2009.
In photos introduced into evidence and released by the court, Rodriguez-Cruz is seen coming and going from the house 43 times over the course of two days. At times, he is carrying a cleaning bucket and a variety of bags from the home. But not once do you see Butler leave her Northwest D.C. home on Fourth Street.
The judge also noted that during those three days, someone turned off the motion detectors that would have turned on the outside lights.
The house was monitored by multiple cameras except on one side of the home where police suspect Rodriguez-Cruz was able to remove Butler’s body. They believe he was able to pass it out of a window. It was revealed on Tuesday that it is where police found a piece of a black plastic trash bag that had come torn off on the ledge.
Testimony also revealed Rodriguez-Cruz was accused of abducting and sexually assaulting a woman he had a business relationship with in 2004, but the case was ultimately dismissed. It is one of at least three cases police have used to show what they say is Rodriguez-Cruz's propensity for violence against women.
It was also revealed that Arlington County police carried out a search warrant at Rodriguez-Cruz’s home last Friday. They recovered a gun, a hard drive and other evidence.
Rodriguez-Cruz’s will remain locked up in D.C. jail until his trial.