Plea expected in shooting death

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Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News (From Right): Beloit shooting suspect Joldany Rodriguez appeared in court Thursday morning with attorney Scott McCarthy. Rodriguez is expected to enter into a plea agreement with the Rock County District Attorney's Office.

JANESVILLE - A Beloit teenager charged in relation to the shooting death of a Beloit 16-year-old in December is expected to enter a plea agreement next week, court officials said in a hearing Thursday in Rock County Circuit Court.

Joldany Rodriguez, 19, who faces a charge of felony murder as party to a crime will appear at 8 a.m. Monday to possibly enter a guilty plea to an unspecified charge following a brief appearance Thursday morning in circuit court. Rodriguez was originally scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Thursday with his trial scheduled to start Monday, before the nature of the hearing was changed due to the anticipated plea.

His attorney, Scott McCarthy, could not be reached for comment regarding the plea agreement between the defense and Rock County District Attorney's Office.

In March, McCarthy doubted any plea agreement would be reached due to the severity of the charge and alleged crime.

The Dec. 23 fatal shooting at the Krueger Haskell Municipal Parking Lot, which is believed to have started as a drug-deal-gone-wrong, left Savion Latimer, 16, dead and another teen, the alleged shooter, Zachary E. Moen, 18, injured.

Authorities believe Rodriguez organized the meeting on the premise of allegedly robbing Latimer of the large amount of marijuana in his possession.

After Rodriguez allegedly attempted to steal the marijuana from Latimer, an argument ensued, which resulted in Moen allegedly taking aim and firing two shots at Latimer in the parked car after believing Latimer was reaching for an unseen weapon. Moen was also shot in the face during the altercation, and gave police testimony last winter while in the hospital.

On July 5, Latimer's mother Dominque Rogers issued a letter to presiding Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley asking the judge to understand her son's side of the incident, claiming "Joldany was the type of person...I struggled to keep Savion away from," she wrote.

"I am not trying to justify my son (sic) part in the crime that was (allegedly) committed, but I am concerned on (sic) Joldany being able to return to the community...with being (allegedly) involved in such a violent crime," her letter added.

Moen, who pleaded guilty in April to possession with intent to deliver THC (marijuana), was sentenced to three years of probation and one-year involved with the Rock County Jail's Rock County Education and Criminal Addictions Program, according to court records.

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