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Woman found not guilty in stabbing death
Barrera-Rodriguez acquitted of all charges in 2014 slaying
Ofelia-Barrera-Rodriguez
Barrera-Rodriguez

Following eight hours of deliberations, the jury found Ofelia Barrera-Rodriguez not guilty on all counts Friday.

Barrera-Rodriguez of Gainesville was acquitted of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault, charges stemming from the stabbing death of Iris Romero-Banegas in 2014.

Romero-Banegas was the live-in girlfriend of Rogelio Flores-Sotelo, 53, the ex-boyfriend of Barrera-Rodriguez.

Prosecutors had painted Barrera-Rodriguez as a “woman scorned,” someone who had been dumped by Flores-Sotelo a month before Christmas.

The defense countered that Flores-Sotelo was responsible for the death of Romero-Banegas. Flores-Sotelo denied that accusation on the witness stand and has not been charged.

The jury took the case before noon Friday and returned with a verdict before 8 p.m.

Barrera-Rodriguez and attorney Matt Leipold embraced following the reading of the jury’s verdict.

“We’re just very happy for Ofelia and her family,” Leipold said, who was assisted by attorney Larry Duttweiler. “We appreciate the patience — I’ve never seen a jury that was so attentive and really took their duty seriously.”

The jury found Barrera-Rodriguez not guilty on all counts as well as the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter that was offered.

The state’s case, presented by Assistant District Attorney Ray Mayer, rested around 3 p.m. Thursday and was followed by 30 minutes of the defense’s witnesses.

Jurors started the day around 8:30 a.m. Friday in Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller’s courtroom by hearing closing arguments and Fuller’s instructions.

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