Men plead not guilty to WB homicide; family asks why it happened

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Jennings -
Rodriguez -

WILKES-BARRE — Accused of fatally shooting Trevor Oliver and injuring his girlfriend Ingrid Vanessa Batista, Robert Rodriguez and Isaiah Jennings both pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them.

The pair appeared before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. on Tuesday.

After the men entered their respective pleas, Sklarosky said he would be setting their trial schedule by an order to be released either later Tuesday or sometime this week.

Before his plea, though, there was some minor confusion in regards to who is representing Jennings, 20, of Wilkes-Barre.

Jennings is currently being represented by attorneys appointed to him by the court, but he said Tuesday he had made payments to be represented by a private attorney.

However, Sklarosky said since no entry of appearance had been filed by any other lawyer, he would continue with the court-appointed attorneys at least for the arraignment.

While Jennings was being led out of the courtroom, a woman who was presumably a member of Oliver’s family angrily whispered to him, “Why? Why did you kill my son?”

Jennings’ response to the woman was inaudible.

Rodriguez, 23, of Plymouth Township, entered his plea of not guilty without incident.

Jennings and Rodriguez are accused of shooting Oliver and Batista at a Hutson Street home Feb. 7. Oliver died five days later.

Prosecutors say the two were meeting with Oliver for a drug transaction. A detective previously testified Jennings said Rodriguez shot Batista first, and told Jennings to shoot Oliver.

Jennings allegedly fired a shot that hit Rodriguez in the leg instead. Jennings also said Rodriguez planned to rob Oliver.

Both suspects are facing charges of homicide, attempted homicide and conspiracy.

Rodriguez also pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment in a second case.

According to police, he shot Lamont Garcia in the abdomen outside a barbershop on Parrish Street in Wilkes-Barre on Feb. 2.

Rodriguez was angry at Garcia for a botched tattoo, authorities say.

Sklarosky set a trial date in this case for Sept. 24.

The men remain locked up without bail in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.



By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter