A Tarrant County jury sentenced a man to 20 years in prison late last week for a fatal shooting outside AT&T Stadium after a Cowboys game in 2015.
Marvin Rodriguez, 30, faced a maximum term of 99 years or life in prison. The jury deliberated for about four hours on Thursday and announced the verdict Friday about noon, according to Toby Shook, one of the attorneys representing Rodriguez.
Rodriguez shot Richard Sells, 43, in the neck on Oct. 11, 2015, during a fight in the parking lot of AT&T Stadium after the Cowboys played the New England Patriots. Sells, who was engaged to be married and soon to be a father, died four days later.
“I think that everyone involved was intoxicated,” Shook said. “He should be eligible for parole in 10 years.”
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Dan Hagood, Rodriguez’s other attorney, argued that the shooting was in self-defense.
“He didn’t want to kill that man,” Hagood said during opening statements last week. “It was a terrible, terrible tragedy.”
Hagood said Rodriguez and his brothers were winding down after hours of tailgating at the stadium when Rodriguez heard a call for help from one of his brothers, who was getting pummeled. Rodriguez grabbed a handgun, Hagood said.
Prosecutor Michele Hartmann told jurors in her opening statement that Rodriguez pistol-whipped several people in the fight, which took place in Lot 10 of stadium parking, near Collins Street and Randol Mill Road. She said Rodriguez then held the handgun to the head of Lester Peters, a tailgater from Lufkin.
Once Peters was let go, a second fight started, and Sells was knocked to the ground, Arlington police have said. Rodriguez then walked up to Sells, police said.
Sells was “getting up from the ground when Marvin Rodriguez walked up to him, put the gun near his neck and pulled the trigger,” Hartmann said.
Hagood described Rodriguez as “peaceful man” who bought a gun for protection after he was the victim of a violent crime in 2006.
Weeks before the fatal shooting, Rodriguez had seen Sells armed with a handgun at a party, Hagood told jurors. It was the host of that party, with whom Rodriguez’s brother got into the fight on Oct. 11, 2015. The fight started when Rodriguez’s brother accidentally spilled beer on the man’s boot, Hagood said.
The area around the stadium and the nearby Globe Life Park that night was packed with fans. A Texas Rangers playoff game had started just as the Cowboys game was ending.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.