ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jason Rodriguez's marriage long ago went sour, his home taken in foreclosure, his job lost to incompetence, his finances sunk in bankruptcy. It was a ''stress overload'' for the man accused of a deadly shooting rampage at his former office, his lawyer said Saturday.
The 40-year-old man whose life seemed to just keep getting worse was charged Saturday with first-degree murder, accused of killing one and wounding five Friday at his former office. He said nothing in his brief court appearance Saturday, but his attorney portrayed him as a mentally ill man who fell victim to countless problems.
''This guy is a compilation of the front page of the entire year -- unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce -- all of the stresses,'' said the public defender, Bob Wesley. ''He has been declining in mental health. There is no logic whatsoever, which points to a mental health case. It looks like a classic case of stress overload.''
Police refused to say anything more Saturday about their investigation into the shooting. But as Rodriguez remained on suicide watch at the Orange County Jail, a portrait of his crumbling life began to emerge.
He couldn't pay the child support he owed for his 8-year-old son. He was nearly $90,000 behind on bills, his bankruptcy file showed. A once-promising, but short-lived career at an engineering firm faded into a job at a fast-food chain.
Wesley described his client as ''very, very mentally ill'' but offered no specifics. His former mother-in-law, America Holloway, said he was a schizophrenic who was constantly paranoid, blaming others for all of his woes and who always thought everyone disliked him.
The suspect's own mother struggled Saturday for words to defend her son. She could only muster an apology.
''Sorry for the families involved,'' Ana Rodriguez said. ''I'm really very sorry, it is very hurtful.''
Police said Rodriguez himself also offered words of remorse as he was handcuffed Friday, explaining he was just going through a tough time. But it offered little solace to victims, all of whom worked at Reynolds, Smith and Hills, where the suspect was an entry-level engineer for 11 months before being fired in June 2007.
Identified as the single fatality in the shooting spree was Otis Beckford, 26, the father of a 7-month-old daughter who was standing near the receptionist's desk when the gunman entered the office.
Beckford's mother told The Palm Beach Post that she had last talked to him Thursday night, firming up the family's Thanksgiving plans.
''Now, he won't be there,'' Icilda Cole told the newspaper. ''Such a shame! I had two children. Otis and my daughter. I have one left. I never thought something like this would happen to him.''