Cambria Heights man gets nearly two decades in prison for killing mother of his infant son: DA

Police investigate crime scene where a new mom was shot in the head in front of her apartment in Queens. (Photo by Robert Stridiron)

A Cambria Heights man was sentenced to 19 years in prison Tuesday, Feb. 1, for the fatal shooting of the mother of his infant son in 2017, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Robert Rodriguez, 31, of 225th Street, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10 to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder for shooting and killing 34-year-old Luz Cuza in her South Jamaica home.

According to the charges, at around 2 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2017, the victim and Rodriguez were in the front yard of her home on 147th Street, near 133rd Avenue. Cuza’s brother came outside of the home and discovered his sister on the ground with a fatal gunshot wound in her eye, and Rodriguez was seen walking away from the scene carrying a shoebox, according to the charges.

Katz said the victim’s brother banged on a neighbor’s door and yelled for someone to call 911. Police responded to the scene and EMS transported Cuza to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators then went to the defendant’s address, where they found a loaded semi-automatic pistol and 48 rounds of ammunition in a shoebox and they took Rodriguez into custody. Forensic analysis proved the firearm was the same used to kill Cuza.

“The defendant admitted killing the mother of his infant son during an argument in front of her home,” Katz said. “This violent tragedy leaves three children without their mother. This sentencing cannot redress their loss but we hope it brings their family a measure of justice.”

Justice Holder sentenced Rodriguez to prison for 19 years, to be followed by five years’ post-release supervision.