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 after the death of T. Boone Pickens' grandson in January got "in trouble" a couple of months earlier after a student overdosed at his apartment, investigators have reported.

On Jan. 29, the student, Brennan Trainor Rodriguez, 21, insisted that his cousin drive an unresponsive "Ty" Pickens to a hospital while he hid drugs and paraphernalia in a maintenance closet at his apartment complex, according to a recently released arrest warrant affidavit.

Rodriguez, who is free on bond, had injected heroin into Pickens' arm at Pickens' request late Jan. 28, the affidavit says.

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 says.

Pickens, a TCU junior, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Baylor All Saints Hospital.

Although the Tarrant County medical examiner's office has not ruled on the cause and manner of Pickens' death, police investigators have been told that Pickens' death was an "accidental overdose by morphine and heroin intoxication," the affidavit says.

Dr. Roger Metcalf, a spokesman for the medical examiner's office, said Friday that a final ruling would not be made until all pathologists in the office review the case.

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

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

Rodriguez's cousin told Detective Tom O'Brien at the hospital that Pickens began sweating profusely and acting strangely shortly after shooting heroin at Rodriguez's apartment. Pickens fell asleep and snored all night, the cousin said, but was found unconscious about 8 a.m.

Rodriguez told a similar story when detectives went to his apartment where they got his consent for a search.

Rodriguez's apartment is in the Century Colonial Park complex in the 1800 block of Rogers Road.

What police found

Inside the refrigerator, police found one syringe and numerous cotton swabs with what was later determined to be heroin residue.

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

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

The affidavit says that the next day, the cousin gave police a written statement with these details:

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., Pickens returned to Rodriguez's apartment. He told the cousins that he had gone to dinner with his ex-girlfriend and was upset that they were not getting back together. He asked Rodriguez to give him "just enough" heroin to make him doze 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 could not wake him up 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 retrieved the items.

The hidden evidence

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 cotton swab with heroin residue from a nightstand next to Rodriguez's bed.

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

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 and the next thing he remembered was 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 a hospital but 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.

TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert has said that Rodriguez was suspended from the university pending a hearing.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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