Warrant: Dispute Over Rent Led To Death Of Roommate

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HARTFORD — Jose Rodriguez told investigators he fatally beat one of his three roommates in a South Marshall Street apartment over rent payments, according to a warrant for his arrest.

In addition to problems with rent, Paul Boateng, 56, was often intoxicated and Rodriguez said he feared his behavior would get them thrown out.

Rodriguez, 34, and his roommates, Anthony Hudson and Meaghan Cowles, were arraigned Wednesday in Superior Court on charges tying them to Boateng’s death.

The suspects were arrested Tuesday, days after Boateng’s body was discovered in wooded area in Suffield.

Rodriguez is charged with murder, conspiracy, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.

Hudson, 45, was charged with accessory to murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence. Cowles, 28, was charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.

All three remain in custody with high bonds. Their cases were transferred to Part A where they are scheduled to appear Aug. 7.

Boateng’s body was found Friday by two teenaged hikers in a heavily wooded area at the base of a cliff near the Farmington Valley Greenway Trail, police said.

His hands and legs were bound with rope and twine. His mouth was covered with a handkerchief and his head and body were wrapped in black plastic bags and duct tape. He died of blunt force trauma to the head, the warrant states.

Investigators identified Boateng using fingerprints and went to his apartment at 171 South Marshal Street. They spoke with the three roommates who initially said Boateng left abruptly around July 10.

But they told a different story while being interviewed at the police station on Monday, the warrant says.

Rodriguez confessed to the killing, saying he had offered to take care of the problem roommate. He said Hudson, who often fought with Boateng over money, confided in Rodriguez on July 10 or 11 that he could no longer stand Boateng.

Rodriguez said he would beat Boateng with a bat.

When Boateng came home drunk that evening, Rodriguez went to Boateng’s room with a bat and hit him over the head a few times. He told police knew he was “past the point of no return” and continued to beat him, the warrant states.

Both Hudson and Cowles walked in the room at different times during the beating. Rodriguez told Hudson to go in the bathroom.

He said Cowles helped him bring the bag with body to the trunk of Boateng’s car. As they drove, Cowles directed Rodriguez to hiking trails in Suffield, a few miles from where she grew up in Southwick, Ma., the warrant states.

Rodriguez said she also helped carry the body from the car into the woods, the warrant states.

In Cowles version of events, she heard a loud thud and went to Boateng’s room where she saw him on the ground making noises. Rodriguez told her not to go into Boateng’s room.

She told investigators she heard Rodriguez and Hudson going in and out of the bedroom. In the morning, she saw Boateng’s room was empty and clean. It smelled like bleach, the warrant states.

Hudson also heard a noise and saw Boateng bound and gagged on the floor. Rodriguez and Cowles were in the room with him. Rodriguez instructed Hudson to go back to his bedroom and he complied, the warrant states.

Investigators found two hammers, a hatchet and a baseball bat in the apartment. They also found blood splatter in a common hallway and in Boateng’s bedroom, the warrant says.

Florence Times, 44, said she was Boateng’s friend outside the courthouse. She said he was like a father figure, a decent person who worked and liked to watch soccer matches.

Text By Hilda Munoz, Hartford Courant; Video By Fox CT

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