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Man convicted in 1994 rape, murder to be executed

Slaying of Susan Verstegen was SAPD cold case

SAN ANTONIO – Almost 18 years after a San Antonio woman's rape and murder, Rodrigo Hernandez is set to die on Thursday -- pending any last minute appeals.

When Hernandez, 38, is strapped to the gurney to receive his lethal injection, Susan Verstegen's father said her only son will be there to see it.

But John Verstegen said he and his wife will not be going to Huntsville to witness the execution of their daughter's killer.

"We've been through this three times," he said, talking about the crime and its impact on their lives.

Verstegen said their 38-year-old daughter, Susan, a Frito-Lay employee, disappeared in February 1994 after making a delivery at an HEB grocery story on Grissom Road.

Then came the discovery of her body days later after a runaway baseball led to a 55 gallon drum behind Prince of Peace Catholic Church not far from where she was last seen.

Verstegen's father said now her killer's execution date has arrived.

He said his grandson, Chuck Monney, who was 15 when his mother was murdered, will be in the witness room adjacent to the death chamber.

However, Monney's wife and Verstegen's oldest sister will be in another area.

Monney also had been a witness for the prosecution at Hernandez's murder trial in March 2004.

In his testimony, Monney described for the jury how he had helped in the search for his mother, looking beneath overpasses and bridges "praying I didn't have to find her there."

He also talked about how his mother had always been there for him growing up.

"I didn't remember my wedding day so much as remembering just being so sad she wasn't there," Monney said during the trial.

Despite evidence that SAPD detectives said they recovered, Verstegen's murder remained a cold case until 2002 when his DNA matched that found in a similar 1991 case in Michigan.