A former Chicago police officer was charged Monday with first-degree murder roughly a year and a half after his estranged wife's shooting death.
Norberto Rodriguez had been charged 13 years ago with attempted first-degree murder after he was accused of shooting his wife, Irma Rodriguez, in the hand during an argument, the SouthtownStar reported.
He was acquitted of the charges but lost his job with the police department the following year.
Now authorities say he made good on harming his wife, with whom a divorce was weeks away from being finalized. Irma Rodriguez's body was found in the trunk of her car in South Suburban Midlothian 17 months ago. The 44-year-old mother of three had been shot multiple times, authorities said.
In 2001, Irma Rodriguez filed an order of protection against her husband, saying he physically abused her during an altercation, and also sought protection for her daughter from a previous marriage and her son with Norberto. A judge granted the order, but Irma terminated it three weeks later, court records show.
In April 2002, Norberto was charged in a scheme to transport four kilos of heroin from Los Angeles to Chicago for distribution. He later pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of heroin with intent to sell it and was sentenced to 52 months in federal prison.
Irma Rodriguez's family said she kept the family together as best she could while her husband was in prison and frequently visited him.
When he was released in January 2007, family members said Norberto Rodriguez proclaimed himself a changed man. But soon afterward, he became violent again, they said, prompting Irma Rodriguez to file for divorce in September 2007.