Preliminary Hearing Held for Magic Valley Man Accused of Murder
BURLEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The man accused of killing a 14-year-old Burley girl 24 years ago, appeared in court Friday for his preliminary hearing.
Gilberto Rodriguez walked into the Cassia County Courthouse at about 9:30 a.m. on a charge for first degree murder in the death of Regina Lee Krieger.
Regina’s body was found in April of 1995 in the Snake River with stab wounds. Rodriguez was arrested in February in connection to the cold case.
During the preliminary hearing, a few witnesses took to the stand. KMVT was not allowed to record witnesses but heard what they said.
A former forensic pathologist, a former Cassia County coroner and a forensics dentist talked about their findings of Regina and how they identified it was her.
"The wound that was of concern was the large gaping laceration from ear to ear on the neck," said the forensic pathologist.
Another witness took the stand and said he knew the suspect for 30 years, meeting him through the drug cartel.
This specific witness, Witness #1, said Rodriguez told him about Regina several times and that it was a shame that he “had to get rid of her” and that law enforcement was on his tail for her disappearance. For some of these encounters, both Rodriguez and the witness were reportedly high.
Witness #1 said he did not sign or make verbal promises with anyone for testifying. Witness #1 is a convicted felon, as well.
Witness #2 took the stand saying that he met Rodriguez when he was a teenager, buying drugs from him.
One night, Witness #2 said they took drugs together and drove around town, stopping at a home that was later identified as Regina's house.
Rodriguez went into the home by himself, instructing Witness #2 to stay in the car.
Rodriguez later came back to the car and Witness #2 said he seemed nervous, then noticed blood on his hands and pants.
"He made a comment saying 'It was not supposed to happen that way,'" Witness #2 recalled.
Witness #2 said he helped Rodriguez move, what he believed to be a body, wrapped in a blanket that had blood on it.
He said he helped Rodriguez dump the body in the river after saying he did not want to be part of the scene.
"He insisted that I helped him pick up the body and I did, and we put the body into the Snake River," Witness #2 said.
Witness #2 is currently serving a fixed life sentence for multiple previous charges.
Rodriguez's attorney Keith Roark asked Witness #2 many questions of his previous reports on the case over the course of 20 plus years, and asked why he lied on some of those reports to law enforcement.
During another court case years ago, Witness #2 said he did commit perjury on the stand with information regarding Regina.
He said he lied because he feared the safety of his family because of Rodriguez and who he associated with.
Clifton Krieger, Regina's brother, made the drive from Spokane, Washington to be at this hearing.
"It was a lot to take in. I thought I was going to be prepared for it," Krieger said.
Sitting through the more than 7 hour hearing, he said he didn't know what to expect.
"Watch my family go through the pain and suffering all over again. Hopefully, at the end of it all, it'll be the last time," he said.
A status conference will be held Monday at 2:30 p.m. through a conference call. Roark said a third witness, a law enforcement officer, may be called to testify.