Gilberto Rodriguez, 58, was found guilty of first degree murder by a jury for the 1995 killing of Regina Krieger, according to the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office.
Krieger was only 14 years old when she was found dead with her throat slashed and she was stabbed in the chest. Rodriguez had showed up at a party covered in blood that same night 26 years ago, according to Law and Crime News.
Regina’s father, Dan Krieger, reported her missing on Feb. 28, 1995. She was last seen alive right before going to bed that night at her home in Burley, Idaho.
“Dan said there was blood on the bathroom floor, and it looked like something had been dragged up the stairs,” according to court documents obtained by East Idaho News. “There was blood going up the stairs that led to the backyard of their residence.”
Krieger’s body was found a month-and-a-half later on April 15, 1995 when her body washed up on the banks of the Snake River near the Minidoka Dam. Her case went cold for more than two decades.
Rodriguez was not arrested and charged until February 2019 for the murder of Krieger, according to Daily Mail.
Three witnesses told investigators that Rodriguez had killed Krieger, dumped her body in the river and then buried a knife in a box, according to Daily Mail at the time of his arrest.
Rodriguez was 32 years old at the time of the killing. According to a state witness reported by East Idaho News, the witness who is a prison inmate, testified that Rodriguez enlisted him to help dump Krieger’s body in the river when the witness was just 16 years old.
Rodriguez’s defense attorney has attempted to cast the local police department as “bumblers” over their initial missteps in the case, noting that law enforcement originally chalked Krieger’s disappearance up as a runaway and initially declined to categorize her death as a homicide, according to Law and Crime News.
The early failures in the case then prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to step in.
According to court documents obtained by Law and Crime News, the second witness told investigators that she was at a party when Rodriguez arrived with the first witness. Both appeared to be upset and were visibly stained with blood. When confronted, the first witness told the second witness about the murder, claiming no responsibility in Krieger’s death. The second witness told investigators that she saw Rodriguez and the first witness bury a knife in a box somewhere on the property.
Rodriguez’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 26, 2021. No motive has yet been revealed in the case.