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'I miss her' | Family calls for justice as sentencing approaches for suspect charged in daughter’s murder

December marks four years since Heather Rodriguez and her husband, Phil Rodriguez, lost their daughter, 25-year-old Corina Rodriguez.

WATERFORD, Conn. — A Waterford family is continuing their calls for justice after their pregnant daughter was stabbed to death at a Niantic motel in 2018. Her boyfriend is charged with the young woman’s murder and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

December marks four years since Heather Rodriguez and her husband, Phil Rodriguez, lost their daughter, 25-year-old Corina Rodriguez.

A mother of three with a baby on the way, the family says Corina was stabbed dozens of times. Police said she was found inside a room at a Niantic motel where she had been staying with her boyfriend, Avery Hallbrooks. Hallbrooks is charged with her murder.

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“That night was the worst night ever, of my whole life—losing her,” Phil said. “I miss her.”

Credit: Elisha Machado

“She would have given anything for anyone. Huge smile—would make anyone laugh. She was just an amazing person all around,” Heather said.

Hallbrooks entered a guilty plea and accepted a 40-year prison sentence back in July, despite the family pushing for a stricter sentence.

“For someone to do that and take everything away from my daughter like he did and then just to kill her the way she was killed and to get 40 years is disgusting,” Heather said.

“They made us go out there and plea our hearts out for a stiffer sentence, 48 years, and we were just blindsided,” Phil said.

Hallbrooks is set to appear in court Thursday for sentencing, but the family isn’t stopping here.

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“We can’t bring Corina back. I would do anything to bring her back but we can’t. So now, my job is to make sure that doesn’t happen to someone else,” Phil said.

The family calling for an update to the special circumstances law, where a person convicted of certain types of murders gets a life sentence, such as murdering a police officer or someone under the age of 16.

“If you’re married, dating, whatever the case may be and you kill your partner because of domestic violence, I think that should be a special circumstance and I think it’s up to our state reps, governor, people just to start making some noise,” Phil said. “No man should ever hurt or kill a female and vice versa.”

“By the time these women and men are killed…they’ve suffered decades some of them, emotionally mentally, physically,” Heather said.

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On average, one in three women and one in four men in the U.S. will experience some form of domestic violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

October is domestic violence awareness month. Free, confidential help is available for those who need it at the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. They are open 24/7.

Safe Futures
860-701-6001, 24/7 hotline

CT Safe Connect
Call or text 888-774-2900

Elisha Machado is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at emachado@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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