Drago’s Second Murder Trial Ends in Mistrial

(LibertyInsider.org) – The quest for justice in the death of anti-gang activist Evelyn Rodriguez remains unresolved. Annmarie Drago, who was originally convicted of murdering Rodriguez in 2020, had her case declared a mistrial in a Long Island court on October 23 following a successful appeal of the original verdict.

During Drago’s original trial, prosecutors argued that the two women clashed shortly before Rodriguez died. The activist had reportedly set up a memorial for her daughter, 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas, who died at the hands of MS-13 gang member Enrique Portillo in 2016.

Rodriguez set the memorial up in front of a home in Brentwood owned by Drago’s mother, presumably near the location where her daughter passed away. The house in question was for sale on the open market at the time. Drago started taking the memorial apart not long after because she feared its presence would deter buyers.

Rodriguez and her husband, Freddy Cuevas, confronted Drago on the street, and the two women began to argue about the memorial. But what began as only harsh words rapidly escalated into a chaotic and dangerous situation for everyone involved.

According to testimony from her defense team, Drago stepped into her vehicle and attempted to drive away from the scene. She claims Rodriguez stepped in front of her SUV just as she hit the accelerator. The anti-gang activist went under the front wheel, sustaining fatal injuries.

A judge in New York ultimately convicted Drago of killing Rodriguez in March 2020. However, a state appeals court overturned that decision in 2022, citing concerns about prosecutorial misconduct. The court accused the prosecutor of manipulating the jury by referring to Rodriguez as a “grieving mother” and insinuating that Drago intentionally drove over her.

Drago’s second trial culminated in yet another mistrial on October 24. Jurors failed to come to a consensus on the matter despite deliberating for four straight days. They did, however, find her guilty of theft for taking items from the memorial when she attempted to clear them away.

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