Drago found guilty on all counts in Evelyn Rodriguez’s death

Ann Marie Drago was found guilty Wednesday of criminally negligent homicide in the death of anti-gang activist Evelyn Rodriguez..

News 12 Staff

Mar 11, 2020, 4:06 PM

Updated 1,592 days ago


Ann Marie Drago was found guilty Wednesday of criminally negligent homicide in the death of anti-gang activist Evelyn Rodriguez.
The incident happened before a vigil for Rodriguez's daughter, Kayla Cuevas, and Nisa Mickens, who were allegedly murdered by MS-13.
Drago’s defense attorney Stephen Kunken says his client was stricken by fear during the 2018 incident when Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas confronted her as she sat in her SUV.
The couple yelled at Drago about taking down a memorial to their slain daughter they had set up near the house of Drago's mother. That's where their daughter's body was found.
As Rodriguez and Cuevas approached, Drago drove forward, running over Rodriguez in the process. News 12 cameras were rolling and captured the scene as it unfolded.
During closing arguments, the defense claimed Drago was still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to a vicious attack she suffered in 2008 at the hands of a psychiatric patient. They said Drago feared for her life and argued that the death was an accident.
But in his closing statement, prosecutor Marc Lindemann said Rodriguez was standing just 5 feet away from Drago when she stepped on the gas. Lindemann said any disorder she may have been suffering is not a "free pass" to commit a crime.
Lindemann told the jury the defendant "recognized right from wrong and chose to wrong," adding she cannot "hide behind a diagnosis." He also said Drago's actions right after Rodriguez was run over were not those of someone in the middle of a panic attack. He said Drago got out of her vehicle and yelled to a News 12 crew to call 911 and stop recording the incident.
Juror Bunnie Baumayr said that her fellow jurors believed early in the trial that Drago’s action were criminal. She also said that she sympathized with Drago’s situation. 
Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said justice was served.
“We in the law enforcement community worked with Evelyn Rodriguez on anti-gang initiatives. Evelyn spent much of her life fighting for justice,” he said.
The verdict was a relief for Freddy Cuevas, who called Rodriguez a “great” and “superb” woman.
“She was the best thing I ever had,” he said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released a statement on the verdict:

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