Francisco Longoria III

A Kingsville man pleaded guilty Monday to charges of murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with a July 2017 stabbing.

Francisco Longoria III, 38, entered the guilty plea in the 105th District Court before Judge Jack Pulcher. 

According to a press release from Kenedy-Kleberg County District Attorney John Hubert, in exchange for his guilty plea Longoria was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the murder charge and 10 years in prison for the tampering with evidence charge. Both charges will run concurrently.

The charges stem from a July 2, 2017 incident in which the body of Raul Rodriguez was found in the early morning hours outside a home in the 500 block of E. Henrietta Ave. Rodriguez had been stabbed multiple times.

Investigators with the Kingsville Police Department and the Texas Rangers identified Longoria as a suspect and he was indicted by a grand jury on Aug. 3, 2017.

Longoria was located and arrested in St. Joseph, Mo. and was extradited back to Kingsville, where he has been held in the Kleberg County Jail since his arrest.

Hubert said Longoria confessed to the murder, citing jealousy of the victim’s relationship with a former girlfriend.

After Longoria entered his plea Monday, Rodriguez’s family presented a “victim impact statement” in open court.

Longoria had faced up to 99 years or life in prison.

“The family was very supportive of the investigation,” Hubert said in a prepared statement. “They were adamant that they wanted Justice done and, even through difficult times, stayed in contact with the District Attorney’s Office, which assisted us in doing our job.”

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