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‘Gouge his eyeballs,’ dead baby’s dad screams as he faces accused killer in court

Jessie Rodriguez

Jessie Rodriguez

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Updated: May 2, 2013 6:31AM

A Northwest Side man accused of beating a 3-year-old Oak Forest girl to death was ordered held on $10 million bail Sunday — prompting an expletive-laden outburst by the baby’s father that caused Cook County sheriff’s deputies to restrain him and clear the courtroom.

When Judge James Brown ruled on Jessie Rodriguez’s bond, a man thought to be the child’s father immediately stood up and yelled, “That’s horse - - - -! There should be no bail!”

Deputies at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse ordered the man to be quiet, but he continued, “You make sure they f - - - the s - - - out of him . . . gouge his eyeballs!”

At least four deputies wrestled the man to the ground as he continued to scream for “his baby,” Gina Presley.

Rodriguez, 42, of the 2900 block of North Kenneth, is the boyfriend of Gina’s aunt, who has been the child’s legal guardian since she was 6 months old, Assistant State’s Attorney Christina Kye said.

They began dating in December 2012 and Rodriguez recently moved into the woman’s Oak Forest home.

Paramedics responded Tuesday night to a call that a girl was choking at a home in the 15300 block of Walnut Road and found Gina unresponsive, police said. Gina was taken to Palos Community Hospital in Palos Hills, where she was declared dead later that night, police said.

Kye said Gina’s aunt went to work on Tuesday and left Rodriguez alone with the girl.

Rodriguez later said he found Gina unresponsive and not breathing, Kye said. Gina had a large bruise on her face, and investigators found vomit around the toddler’s bedroom.

The state of her body indicated she had been dead for a while.

An autopsy determined that Gina died from blunt-force head trauma, authorities said.

Rodriguez has worked at a construction job for the past six years and is a junior at Northeastern University, according to his public defender. He also has an 11-year-old child.

Rodriguez was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in 1992 and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in 1991, prosecutors said.

The man who had the outburst in court was released without being charged, authorities said.

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