Murdered airman's family knows first verdict just the beginning

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) - A jury Friday found an ex-convict guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, burglary in possession of a deadly weapon, and first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon, in the death of Iraq War veteran and native of Guam.

Michael Rodriguez, 34, was on trial for the December 2010 murder of Nathan Paet, a staff sergeant at Nellis Air Force Base. Prosecutors say Rodriguez was having an affair with the victim's wife, and the couple wanted Paet out of the way.

Because Rodriguez was found guilty of first-degree murder, the trial will enter into a penalty phase on Tuesday. The jury will also have to deliberate on an additional charge: possession of a firearm by an ex-felon.

Paet's mother, Carmelita, sat through every witness, every moment of the four-day trial. She remembered her son as a caring, loving father.

"Nathan was very friendly, outgoing," she said.

His children are living with her in Guam.

"They've been keeping me busy," she said. "They're very affectionate kids."

Paet's wife, Michelle, is accused of alerting Rodriguez when her husband was leaving the house.

Two co-defendants, Jessica Ashley and Corry Hawkins, also await trial. With each defendant set to be tried separately, the Paets know the Rodriguez verdict is just the beginning.

"We've waited a long time for this," Carmelita Paet said. "We need to stay and finish everything."
close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off