Judge rules martial arts fighter’s hands and feet are ‘deadly weapons’ in road rage attack

By Paul Thompson  March 7, 2012

A mixed martial arts expert involved in an alleged road rage attack has been jailed after a judge said his hands and feet were ‘deadly weapons’.

Charged: Fernando Rodrigues was ordered held without bail after he allegedly pistol-whipped one man and beat up anotherCharged: Fernando Rodrigues was ordered held without bail after he allegedly pistol-whipped one man and beat up another

Judge John Hurley said given Fernando Rodrigues’ specialised training his hands and feet were as lethal a gun.

He ordered the 33-year-old former Iraqi war veteran be held without bail after hearing how he had pistol whipped one man and beat up another.

Judge Hurley said: ‘I’ve always thought that if you are a black belt in karate or you are a expert in martial arts, that your hands and feet would be considered weapons.

That’s what I’ve always thought since I was an attorney’.

‘He’s a mixed martial arts competitor. He’s an expert in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jujitsu. He’s also the president and co-founder of a mixed martial arts training facility.’

The judge made his ruling after prosecutors told a court in Florida how Rodrigues, a former Marine, allegedly attacked two men at a traffic light in Coral Springs, Florida.

One of the alleged victims, Michael Caccavella, said he was attacked because he didn’t hit the gas fast enough when a light turned green.

‘He probably has more steroids in him than half the cattle in Texas,’ said Mr Caccavella of Rodrigues.

Mr Caccavella said Rodrigues smashed him across the head with a loaded handgun before fracturing the bones of his friend Juan David Uribe’s eye socket with several jabs to the face.

Mr Caccavella,54, a pool cleaner said Rodrigues was blasting his horn at him and tailgating as they drove through Coral Springs, near Miami.

He said he pulled over to let Rodrigues pass, but moments later the ex-Marine appeared at his window and pointed a gun in his face.

Mr Caccavella said Rodrigues started screaming about how he was a Marine and served in Iraq.

Mr Caccavella said he considered getting out his own gun, but Rodrigues walked away and he called 911.

Attacked: Juan David Uribe is pictured with a black eye he got when Fernando Rodrigues allegedly punched at his eye socket with several jabs to the face
Attacked: Juan David Uribe is pictured with a black eye he got when Fernando Rodrigues allegedly punched at his eye socket with several jabs to the face

 

While Mr Caccavella was talking to a dispatcher, he said, Rodrigues returned and cracked him over the head with the handgun smashing his nose.

‘There was blood gushing everywhere – on the steering wheel, the seat, the windshield,’ Caccavella said.

Mr Caccavella said he told his colleague Uribe to run.

‘I’m 54. He’s 25. I figured if I was going to get shot, at least I’ve lived my life,’ Mr Caccavella said. 

‘The craziest things go on in your head in a situation like that. I wanted him to live. He’s just 25.’

Mr Caccavella said his attacker caught Uribe and began beating him up so he grabbed his own gun.

‘I thought, ‘I have to do what I have to do,’ MR Caccavella said.

Before any shots were fire police arrived and arrested Rodrigues.

Rodrigues is charged with seven counts, including aggravated assault, that could see him jailed for life.

The Judge denied bond for the two assault charges.

‘The court believes at this time that your hands and feet are considered, for probable cause, to be deadly weapons,’ he said.

Rodrigues’s attorney, Brittany Nicolli, tried to argue that his hands and feet should not be considered a deadly weapon.

‘They said he just struck them in the face, so even if you were a specific special martial arts instructor, I don’t see how that could possibly cause deadly injury to someone just by striking you in the face,’ Nicolli said.

Nicolli asked the judge to consider house arrest or possibly a higher bond instead of his ruling of no bond on two of the counts.

She told the court that Rodrigues ‘has been a U.S. citizen for 11 years. He has no priors, and he’s a three-time Iraqi war veteran.’

The judge denied her request and told Rodrigues, ‘Sir, your attorney did a good job, but frankly she had an uphill battle today, and it’s the best any attorney could do’.

According to the American Top Team’s website, Rodrigues is a Marine who ‘attended The Citadel Military College, Echo Company Class of 2005’ and served two tours in Iraq.

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