Tampa man accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend three years ago takes his chances with a jury

TAMPA, Fla. - Defendant Jay Rodriguez will take his chances with the jury this week. Rodriguez faces two counts of second-degree murder in the death of his pregnant girlfriend in Tampa in October 2020.

On Monday, a pool of potential jurors was told the charges against Rodriguez, but prosecutors say that doesn’t begin to describe the horrific details of this crime.

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They say three years ago Rodriguez flew into a violent and deadly rage when he beat his pregnant girlfriend, Jennifer Barreras, to death.

Detectives said Rodriguez punched, stomped, and kicked Barreras in the head and stomach, who, at the time, was six months pregnant. She was heard screaming ‘help me’.

Court documents show an eyewitness tried to stop the beating, but Rodriguez then went after the witness. Barreras, tragically, did not survive the attack. Her baby was delivered by C-section but died minutes later.

Now, that eyewitness will be the crux of the prosecution’s case.

<div>Jennifer Barreras</div>
Jennifer Barreras

Rodriguez has a track record for violence. His criminal history includes armed robbery, aggravated assault, and attempted armed robbery. In 2013, a woman filed a restraining order against him, claiming he broke into her house, broke furniture, and attacked her.

Now years later, a jury will decide if he murdered his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn baby.

The trial is expected to wrap up on Wednesday.