Bail cut in half for man awaiting trial in Fullerton double-homicide

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- An Orange County judge cut bail in half on Friday for a man awaiting a new trial in the murder of a woman and her unborn child.

Henry Rodriguez has been in custody since 1998 for the double murder of Jeanette Espeleta and her baby in Fullerton.

His bail is now $500,000 instead of $1 million.

Rodriguez's friend Richard Tovar, the baby's father, was also convicted of murder and helping to dump her body, which was never found, in the ocean.

After his first conviction, Rodriguez was granted a new trial in 2003 when a state appellate court ruled that investigators illegally coerced a confession from him without informing him of his right to stay silent.

That second trial resulted in another conviction in 2006.

But his attorney later sought to have the case tried one more time based on claims of illegal use of a jailhouse informant.

Orange County Superior Court judge Judge Thomas Goethal granted that request for a third trial.

The judge said prosecutors failed to turn over records about a confidential jailhouse informant. The defense could have used that information to try to block the informant from testifying at trial.
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