Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that on Friday, July 20, 2018, a Providence County Superior Court jury found Ezekial Johnson (age 28), of Pawtucket, guilty of the July 2007 murder of Jose Rodriguez. Johnson was found guilty of first degree murder, discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence resulting in death, and carrying a firearm without a license. The jury returned the verdict after two days after a two-week trial presided over by Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause.
During the trial, the State proved that Ezekial Johnson and two other individuals were in the backseat of the Mr. Rodriguez's taxi in Central Falls when Johnson pulled out a gun and shot Mr. Rodriguez in the back of head, killing him. It is believed the three men intended to not pay Mr. Rodriguez for the taxi ride, whereas Johnson shot him instead.
The case remained unsolved for several years until a witness came forward. Central Falls Police were then able to link DNA left near the scene to that of Johnson. A Providence County Grand Jury subsequently indicted Johnson in 2017 for the murder.
Central Falls Police Detective Jeff Araujo and Lt. Christopher Reed led the investigation. Assistant Attorney General James Baum and Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy Healy prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.
Johnson remains held without bail pending sentencing.