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Phoenix News – A Family’s Vindication

Phoenix New Times
by Paul Rubin

“It is probable that [Rodney] has some underlying pathology — as his affect is impaired, he is isolative, and his delusions persisted for a significant period of time after cocaine left his system. Actually, although he is longer agitated and bizarre, his delusions are still present.”

Astoundingly, Denham approved the return of a six-inch folding knife to Rodney before releasing him to his family. Authorities had confiscated the knife when they first admitted him to the hospital days earlier.

Though that knife wasn’t the murder weapon, which police never did recover, its return to the delusional patient spoke to the haphazard approach that hospital officials used with their patient.

Coincidentally during that time, Rodney’s brother Lenny and Lulu Saldana were visiting Phoenix after a trip to Disneyland, SeaWorld and the Grand Canyon.

Sadly, their presence at Mauricia’s home gave Rodney the opportunity to kill his niece and his mother.

The size of the civil verdict stunned courthouse observers aware of the difficulties that medical-malpractice plaintiffs’ attorneys have had winning cases in Maricopa County in recent years.

The county Board of Supervisors has yet to announce whether it will appeal the verdict.

Anita Watson speaks for herself and her family when she says, “I’m left with a sense that I don’t trust anyone inside the system anymore. They still probably don’t believe that they did anything wrong. But we took Rodney down there to get help, and they basically just let him out. They knew he was crazy and dangerous. During the trial, we all felt better at just getting the truth out to the jury. We didn’t know what was going to happen, but we felt strong about it, that we were doing the right thing.”

As for her brother Rodney, she says, “He’s a very sick person and he should be where he is right now, not in prison. I love my brother, and I loved my mother and the baby [Alexia]. We won our case, yes, but this is sad all the way around.”

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