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Cambria Heights Man Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Fatally Shooting His Child’s Mother

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Feb. 3, 2022 By Allie Griffin

A Cambria Heights man was sentenced to nearly two decades in prison Tuesday for fatally shooting the mother of his infant child four years ago.

Robert Rodriguez, 31, was sentenced to 19 years in prison Tuesday nearly a month after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the 2017 killing of his girlfriend, 34-year-old Luz Cuza.

Rodriguez fatally shot Cuza only four months after she gave birth to their son. Cuza also had two other children.

“This violent tragedy leaves three children without their mother,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “This sentencing cannot redress their loss but we hope it brings their family a measure of justice.”

Rodriguez fatally shot Cuza in the eye at 2 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2017 in the front yard of her home on 147th Street in Cambria Heights, according to the charges. The pair both lived in Cambria Heights but at different addresses.

Cuza’s brother, who was at her house at the time of the shooting, heard the shot and found her laying on the ground with a gunshot wound to her eye. He urgently banged on neighbors’ doors for help and yelled for someone to call 911 as his sister lay bleeding.

Meanwhile, he spotted Rodriguez walking away from the scene carrying a shoebox, according to the criminal complaint.

Police who responded to the murder scene drove to Rodriguez’s home soon after. There they found a loaded semi-automatic pistol and 48 rounds of ammunition in a shoebox, the charges state.

A subsequent forensic analysis proved that the firearm they recovered from the defendant’s home was the same one used to kill Cuza.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree on Jan. 10.

He and Cuza were apparently arguing before Rodriguez pulled out the gun.

“The defendant admitted killing the mother of his infant son during an argument in front of her home,” Katz said in a statement.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder sentenced Rodriguez to prison for 19 years, to be followed by five years of post-release supervision.

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