By Amanda Beck
Santa Ana – The family of a Placentia woman whose restraining order could not stop the bullets of a jealous lover wiped away tears Tuesday when the former boyfriend was convicted of first-degree murder.
Richard Namey, 27, now faces 80 years to life in prison for the April 16, 2003, slaying of Sarah Rodriguez, 21, and the near-fatal shooting of her boyfriend, Matt Corbett.
Corbett's body was riddled with at least three bullets when Namey opened fire on the couple as they returned home from a restaurant.
Several surgeries later, Corbett, 21, now sits paralyzed in a wheelchair and is blind in his left eye. Tuesday, the paraplegic lifted his arms in victory and reached out for Rodriguez's mother, Martha Dewar.
"I'm just glad that Sarah's got her closure. ... She's peaceful now," Corbett said.
The guilty verdict closed a 12-day trial in which Namey was convicted of four felonies, including a carjacking he committed several days later while on the run.
Namey testified during the trial and confessed to the shooting but said it was not cold- blooded.
Instead, he said, it occurred when he realized that Rodriguez was seeing another man and understood that his own relationship with her was over.
Deputy Public Defender John Zitny had asked the jury to convict Namey of manslaughter, saying his client did not plan or premeditate the shootings.
"He wasn't aware of what he was doing," Zitny said Tuesday. "He is very, very remorseful."
Deputy District Attorney Dennis Conway contended that Namey killed Rodriguez in a jealous rage after months in which he taunted, harassed and stalked her.
Finally, Rodriguez obtained a restraining order. But she did so against a man who was already on probation for threatening another woman with a gun, and in the end, for Rodriguez, the court order made no difference.
"You can't control something like this," Conway said.
"He was possessive, controlling, abusive, and this young girl made a mistake of getting involved with him," Conway said. "It cost her her life."
About 30 of the victims' friends and family crammed the 10th-floor courtroom when the verdicts were announced. They passed tissues to one another.
"Your children are your everything," said Rodriguez's mother, who looked despondent in saying she would never recover from this loss.
Dewar added that it did give her some peace to know that Namey would likely be in prison for rest of his life, a wish she said her daughter had even voiced herself.
In a series of diary entries and notes that Rodriguez scribbled in the weeks before the shooting, she wrote that she was scared of Namey and wished that police would put him in jail, Dewar said.
Tuesday, her mother lifted her eyes heavenward and declared, "Sarah, you got your wish."