Conviction in South Beach murder that began with JFK-Cuban rant

Arturo Rodriguez
Arturo Rodriguez Florida Dept. of Corrections

For the third time, jurors have convicted a Miami Beach man who plunged a fishing spear through the chest of another man after an argument over a theory that Cubans killed President John F. Kennedy.

A jury on Friday deliberated quickly in convicting Arturo Rodriguez, 56, who killed Emilio Galindo, 48, after the argument at South Pointe Park on Memorial Day 2000.

Back then, Rodriguez was homeless when he retrieved a Star tabloid newspaper out of a trashcan and read about a theory that Cuban agents had a hand in Kennedy’s murder in November 1963. Rodriguez – himself a Cuban American – began railing loudly to no one in particular about Cubans.

His rant drew the attention of Galindo, Julio Fernandez and a third man — also Cuban American – who approached and began arguing. He and Fernandez fought, then Rodriguez ran to grab his nearby 5-foot fishing spear. Rodriguez took aim at Galindo, a construction worker . The barbed spear from a fishing gun pierced 16 inches into his chest, killing him.

“Deadly force is justified in some cases. This was not one of those cases,” said prosecutor Christine Hernandez Baldwin, who tried the case with Joseph Mansfield. “The jury agreed – it was murder.”

He faces up to life in prison for the conviction for second-degree murder with a deadly weapon. Rodriguez, who has a history of mental illness, will be sentenced in the coming months.

This was actually Rodriguez’s fourth trial for the killing. Twice, he was convicted, but had his convictions reversed by appeals courts. In another trial, a mistrial was declared.