Courts

Sacramento prisoner faces third strike in yard stabbing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A convicted carjacker who comes up for parole in 2043, at the age of 55, could get his third strike under California law if he’s found guilty of stabbing another inmate on the yard at CSP Sacramento in 2019.

Nestor Rodas, 34, would face a mandatory sentence of 25-to-life if a jury finds him guilty of stabbing Julio Navarette on the basketball court at Sacramento’s male-only state prison during a scuffle.

The offense would be his third conviction for a violent felony and could essentially amount to a life sentence – at the very least allowing him to be released from prison at the age of 80.

According to CDCR Information Specialist Joe Orlando, Rodas was initially sentenced to CDCR in 2006 out of Riverside County to serve two years for second-degree robbery, getting out on parole in October of 2007 before absconding and being placed back on supervision twice.

In September of 2009, Rodas was convicted and sentenced to 39 years for carjacking with a gun enhancement as a second striker, gun possession, and witness intimidation. In that case, Rodas stood as a lookout as his co-defendant, Hector Ortega, stole a car out of a couple’s driveway. As the duo began to come outside, Rodas menaced them with a rusty gun and later called the wife, telling her to pay $1600 to get her car back. He threatened to kill her if she told police.

After the woman, who knew Rodas, told police of a spot where he would converge with other drug addicts, he was apprehended following a brief foot chase. Both the gun and a phone with the number that had made threatening calls to the wife were found on Rodas’ person. Finally, in February of 2015, he was sentenced to four years for possessing drugs while in prison.

In his current case, CDCR Officers testified at a preliminary hearing that they found Rodas fighting another inmate on the yard after another employee called out “down on the yard” over the PA system.

Rodas had grabbed Julio Navarette by the shirt and was stabbing him several times with a makeshift knife, with both men lowering themselves to the ground as a mob of guards began forming a circle around them. Rodas set the knife on the ground and was cuffed, with officers transporting Navarette to the prison’s medical center. The altercation lasted for approximately ten seconds.

Doctors determined that Navarette had been stabbed four times in his back, once in the chest, once in the hand, and was scratched on the top of the head. His wounds were sutured, and he survived, though blood residue from the violent attack had seeped through his prison-issued shirt.

At the same hearing, Rodas pleaded not guilty and scheduled to swap his public defender out for private counsel hired by his family. He’s scheduled to go on trial on June 18th.

Ethan Biando
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime, courts, and policing. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822

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