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Trial delayed for Jacksonville man accused of killing Bonefish Grill co-worker

Trial had been set for October; no new date scheduled

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The trial for Lee Rodarte in the murder of Savannah Gold, his co-worker at Bonefish Grill, has been delayed.

Lawyers for Rodarte, who is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with evidence, asked Monday for a continuance in court, and it was granted with no objection from the prosecution.

The trial had been set for October.

There’s no new date. 

Gold, 21, was missing for several days in early August before investigators found her body in a lake at the end of Club Duclay Drive, off Blanding Boulevard near Collins Road.

According to the autopsy report, the medical examiner could not determine Gold's exact cause of death but called it a violent homicide. 

The State Attorney’s Office released hundreds of crime scene photos, hours of surveillance video and a recording of Rodarte's interrogation by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives to News4Jax on Thursday. 

Video from the red-light camera at the intersection of San Jose Boulevard and Claire Lane shows Gold's car arriving in the parking lot of the Bonefish Grill. Then, Rodarte, her co-worker and occasional boyfriend, drove up. 

Jacksonville police said there was a struggle in his back seat and that she kicked the door open three times, but never got out. Another surveillance video shows Rodarte’s car driving away.

Police said they confronted Rodarte with the video footage and he confessed to killing Gold and dumping her body.

Gold's family and friends frantically searched for her after her unlocked car with a flat tire and her purse still inside was found in the restaurant parking lot and relatives received text messages from her phone, saying she had met someone and was running away with him, according to a police report.

Gold's family said those texts were out of character, noting that they did not appear to be typed in Gold's style. 

Gold was missing for three days before Rodarte told police where to find her body, according to investigators.

Rodarte, 29, remains in the Duval County jail without bond.

About the Authors:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.