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Plano Teenager Arrested for Stabbing Death of 16-Year-Old Neighbor

Plano police arrested a 17-year-old male for allegedly stabbing his 16-year-old neighbor during an altercation on the city’s east side on March 8. J. Rodriguez, 17, of Plano was arrested after witnesses saw him fighting with the victim, 16-year-old J. Soto.

Rodriguez is accused of fatally stabbing Soto after the two teenagers engaged in a verbal altercation near Soto’s home located in the 2900 block of East 15th Street. Rodriguez was being held on $1 million bail at the Collin County Detention Center.

The two teenagers lived in the same neighborhood. According to the arrest affidavit, Soto was standing outside with two other teenagers when Rodriguez walked by. As Rodriguez passed by, Soto began yelling at him, throwing his hands in the air, asking Rodriguez who he was “claimin.” It was unclear what the dispute was about.

As Rodriguez walked down the street, Soto trailed after him, continuing to yell at him, according to the report. As the two boys turned the corner around Sherrye Drive, the witnesses lost sight of them. When Soto reappeared, he was holding his chest asking for his father.

Soto’s father drove him to Medical Center of Plano, where Soto died of a single stab wound to the heart, according to the police report.

One eyewitness told the police that he saw the argument turn physical. He thought that he saw Rodriguez punch Soto, but when he stumbled backwards, he said that he had been stabbed, the report says.

The witnesses tried to chase down Rodriguez, but he got away. The witness was later able to identify Rodriguez from a picture on Facebook.

Rodriguez does not have a prior criminal history, however, a Plano police officer had confiscated a pocketknife from in December after he Rodriguez trespassed at a local library, the affidavit says.

Texas Juvenile Justice System

What happens to juveniles who are arrested for violent crimes? Texas has what is called “determinate sentencing” for juvenile offenders. In 1995, the law was amended so that sentences could now be a maximum of 40 years for capital and first-degree felonies.

In 2007, the law changed again so that sentenced offenders have to be discharged from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) by the time they turn 19. If they have not completed their sentence by their 19th birthday or transferred to the TDCJ – ID, they are transferred to adult parole supervision for the rest of their sentence.

A juvenile who is sent to the TJJD with a determinate sentence could be transferred to an adult prison if they display bad behavior and fail to show progress with in the TJJD programs.

Was your son or daughter arrested for a crime in Plano, Dallas or Fort Worth? If so, don’t hesitate to contact the Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for a hard-hitting defense!