For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
THIRD STRIKER SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING AND KILLING FRIEND WHILE STOPPED AT INTERSECTION IN IRVINE
SANTA ANA – A third striker was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for shooting and killing his friend while stopped at an intersection in Irvine. David Benjamin Rodgers, 49, Lancaster, was found guilty by a jury Feb. 25 2014, of one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with sentencing enhancements for prior strike convictions for false imprisonment in 1989, forcible sodomy and forcible oral copulation of a minor in 1990, and sexual assault of a minor in 1990.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on Dec. 22, 2002, Rodgers was driving his car with his friend, 44-year-old Jeanie Lynn Waterson, in the passenger’s seat. Rodgers stopped his car at the intersection of Sand Canyon Avenue and Alton Parkway in Irvine. While stopped at the intersection, Rodgers used a firearm to fire a total of five shots without provocaton. He first fired one shot through the windshield of the car. Rodgers then killed Waterson by firing another shot, which entered and exited her left arm, then went through her heart and right lung. The defendant then fired several more shots, two additional shots through the windshield and one through his own right foot. The car then rolled through the intersection into an open field.
Witnesses contacted police and the Irvine Police Department arrived at the scene. Rodgers waited approximately 14 minutes before he surrendered. Waterson was pronounced dead at the scene.
This case was initially tried in 2005 and resulted in a guilty verdict for second degree murder, but was later overturned on appeal. The case was then retried in 2009, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict and the case resulted in a mistrial.
During today’s sentencing, the victim’s daughters gave an impact statement to the court. One of her daughters described how she lost her mother as a child and struggled to learn how to become a mother herself because of the defendant’s actions. She went on to say that she wishes her mother was still here to provide guidance on raising two kids of her own.
Assistant Head of Court Susan Price, formerly of the Homicide Unit, prosecuted this case.