Affidavit: Pickens' death was 2nd apparent overdose at TCU student's home

Posted Friday, Mar. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH -- A TCU student charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the death of T. Boone Pickens' grandson had previously gotten "in trouble" after another student overdosed at his apartment, court documents state.

Brennan Trainor Rodriguez, 21, insisted that his cousin drive an unresponsive "Ty" Pickens to the hospital while he hid drugs and paraphernalia in a maintenance closet, according to a recently-released arrest warrant affidavit

Rodriguez, who remains free on bond, had injected heroin into Pickens' arm at the TCU junior's request late Jan. 28, the affidavit states.

The next morning, Rodriguez and his cousin found Pickens unresponsive.

"Brennan Rodriguez told (his cousin) to drive him to the hospital because he didn't want to get in trouble for another person overdosing at his apartment," the affidavit states.

Pickens was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Baylor All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth.

Though a ruling on the cause and manner of Pickens' death are pending, investigators were told earlier this month that Pickens' death had been ruled an "accidental overdose by morphine and heroin intoxication," the affidavit states.

Dr. Roger Metcalf, a spokesman with the medical examiner's office, said Friday that a final ruling is pending a review of the case by all pathologists in the medical examiner's office.

Bruce Ashworth, Rodriguez's attorney, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Differing accounts

Homicide detectives investigating Pickens' death received differing accounts of what occurred, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Rodriguez's cousin told Detective Tom O'Brien at the hospital that Pickens had begun sweating profusely and acting weird shortly after shooting heroin at Rodriguez's Century Colonial Park apartment. He said Pickens fell asleep and snored all night long but was found unconscious about 8 a.m., prompting the cousin to drive him to the hospital.

Rodriguez told a similar story when detectives went to his apartment in the 1800 block of Rogers Road seeking consent to search.

Inside the refrigerator, police found one syringe and numerous Q-tips containing what would later be determined to be heroin residue.

Later that evening, the cousin contacted O'Brien again and told him that he had lied.

The Star-Telegram is not identifying the cousin because he has not been charged.

The affidavit states that the cousin met with police the next day and provided a written statement detailing the following:

At Rodriguez's apartment on Jan. 28, Rodriguez told his cousin that he and Pickens had used heroin and Xanax earlier that day.

About 11:30 p.m. that night, Pickens returned to Rodriguez's apartment. He told the men that he had gone to dinner with his ex-girlfriend and was upset they were not getting back together. He asked Rodriguez to give him "just enough" heroin to make him dose off.

Rodriguez loaded a syringe with heroin and injected Pickens in the arm.

The cousin said he and Rodriguez left to get more heroin. They returned to find Pickens passed out and sweating profusely.

They shook him awake and gave him water and an ice pack. He appeared to fall asleep again, snoring loudly.

About 8 a.m., when Pickens' alarm went off, the men found him unresponsive and carried him to the cousin's car.

While the cousin drove him to the hospital, Rodriguez hid the drugs and paraphernalia in a maintenance closet across the hall from his apartment. After police searched his apartment, he returned the items.

The affidavit describes the hidden evidence as spoons, syringes, cotton swabs, heroin, Xanax and brownies containing marijuana.

On Jan. 30, police executed a search warrant at the apartment, where they seized another Q-tip with heroin residue from a nightstand next to Rodriguez's bed.

A previous incident

The cousin told police that Rodriguez asked him to drive Pickens to the hospital because another person had overdosed on heroin at the apartment about two months earlier. In that case, 911 was called and the person survived but Rodriguez "got in trouble," the affidavit states.

Investigators later interviewed the man who had overdosed. He said he went to Rodriguez's apartment because he wanted to try heroin and knew Rodriguez did the drug, the affidavit says. He said that Rodriguez shot him up with heroin and that he next remembers waking up at the hospital.

Rodriguez's ex-girlfriend told police that the man had passed out on the couch and started breathing strangely - almost like snoring - and foaming at the mouth.

She told police that Rodriguez wanted to try to take the man to the hospital but that he was too heavy to pick up.

She said she and Rodriguez used the Internet to research symptoms of a heroin overdose and "what to say to police so they don't get in trouble," according to the affidavit.

The woman said she called 911 because she and Rodriguez were afraid that the man could die.

The affidavit states that, based on the police response to the previous overdose, Rodriguez would have been aware that an investigation would follow Pickens' apparent overdose. Despite that, and despite being told by a detective that Pickens' death was under investigation, Rodriguez concealed evidence, the affidavit states.

TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert has said that Rodriguez was suspended from the university pending a hearing. On Friday, she said the university cannot release results of disciplinary hearings.

Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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