Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Man found guilty of stabbing wife to death in 2015

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – A Rockford man was found guilty of first-degree murder Thursday following a bench trial in front of Winnebago County Judge Randy Wilt.

Jose RodriguezAranda, 38, was arrested on Nov. 21, 2015, when sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to an apartment at 4929 Linden Road, after a child reported that his father was injured. When deputies arrived, they found Martina Chagoya-Espinoza on the living room floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene. RodriguezAranda was in the bathroom, suffering from stab wounds.

Prosecutors alleged that after stabbing Chagoya-Espinoza 23 times the night of Nov. 20, RodriguezArand ingested pills then turned the knife on himself. The couple’s two children, ages 9 and 11, were in bed at the time of the killing. During an interview after the murder, RodriguezArand told police he stabbed his wife because she was trying to leave him and take the children.

Assistant Public Defender Shauna Gustafson asked Wilt to find the defendant guilty of second-degree murder because he snapped in a moment of intense passion when he discovered his wife was having an affair.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Clifford said there was no evidence of infidelity and that RodriguezArand only suspected his wife was involved with someone else. Prosecutors say RodriguezArand and Chagoya-Espinoza argued about her cell phone password before she was killed.

RodriguezArand is lodged in the Winnebago County Jail. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17. R.

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