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Benjamin Rodriguez, 19, appears for a preliminary hearing in Yakima County Superior Court Thursday, April 11, 2019. He faces first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of his father, Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez.

 

YAKIMA, Wash. — A Yakima County Superior Court judge granted the release of a man accused of killing his father last week because prosecutors say they believe he acted in self-defense.

Benjamin D. Rodriguez, 19, was arrested in connection with the shooting death his father, 34-year-old Jose Rodriguez, at their Outlook home April 10. He was held on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Judge Richard Bartheld granted his release Monday after hearing from prosecutors.

Rodriguez’s family voiced relief as they gathered with attorneys after the ruling.

“We’re just happy they did the right thing,” said the young man’s grandfather, Joe Rodriguez.

In a statement to the court, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic said a review found Rodriguez acted in self-defense.

“There had been substantial volatility with this family,” Brusic said.

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Brusic said Jose Rodriguez was enraged because he couldn’t access prescription drugs that weren’t his, and pointed a gun at his son first.

“After a full and fair consideration of all the facts and analysis of their relationship as well as the family history including the grandparents of the suspect, it is my belief that the state of Washington would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the absence of self-defense undertaken by Benjamin Rodriguez,” Brusic concluded.

This story will be updated.