Friday, August 29, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Jury acquits man in ’03 cold-case homicide retrial

By
From page A1 | February 28, 2013 |

Ricardo Cruz is shown in April 2011 in Solano County Superior Court.

Ricardo Cruz is shown in April 2011 in Solano County Superior Court.

FAIRFIELD — After more than two years in jail and two jury trials, a man accused of stabbing and killing a Fairfield woman in her home in 2003 was found not guilty Wednesday of murder charges.

After the verdicts were announced, Ricardo Cruz hugged his defense attorney and then his parents.

Cruz, 37, a Navy veteran, had no criminal record when he was arrested in 2010 at his home in Santa Rosa and charged with murder. His arrest came after cold-case investigators reopened the case, got a DNA sample from Cruz and matched it to a minute piece of flesh found under one of Kathryn Vitagliano’s fingernails.

Vitagliano, 55, was found dead on the living room of her Robin Drive home on the night of Nov. 26, 2003, a few feet from a Christmas tree. A homemade pumpkin pie she had been baking for Thanksgiving the next day was still in the oven. The recently retired psychiatric technician from Napa State Hospital was face down in a pool of blood and had been stabbed nearly a dozen times.

Cruz is an ex-boyfriend of one of Vitagliano’s adult daughters. He had been at the home a few weeks before the killing prompting his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tommy Barrett, to argue his client’s DNA may have ended up under Vitagliano’s fingernail because he may have been typing on her computer or may have sneezed on a mirror in the home.

Another murder trial for Cruz ended last year with a deadlocked jury splitting 8-4 in favor of acquittal.

Cruz did not testify at either trial. Before his arrest, he told investigators he had been home alone sick in bed at the time of Vitagliano’s death.

After jurors left the courtroom, Judge Peter B. Foor ordered Cruz to pay $80,000 to the Public Defender’s Office for its costs. Barrett objected to Foor’s imposition of the fees. The matter will be considered further at an April 2 hearing.

Cruz was ordered released from custody. Before the start of the retrial, the ex-girlfriend went to court and obtained a restraining order against Cruz.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 7 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JusticeFebruary 28, 2013 - 7:34 am

    I do not know anything more than what was printed in the newspaper. The fact that he was found not guilty is what our justice system is all about. However, for the Judge Foor to access him $80k for the PD office is appalling at the minimum. This judge is not thinking right. He should drop that claim and hope this guy does not sue for millions for wrongful prosecution which If I was on the jury, would vote to give him millions! The nerve of this judge and in our next election, I will remember this nonsense amount.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ConfusedFebruary 28, 2013 - 9:37 am

    What The???? Are you serious Judge? Didn't this guy go through enough!? I read all the accoounts of this on Daily Republic AND The Reporter and everyone EXCEPT for this (must be) AWESOME Public Defender rakes the guy over the coals-AND-The Public Defender Objects to the payment!!! This judge obviously is biased and wanted him found guilty. Thankfully, a GREAT Public Defender (gosh they DO exist!), and a jury-OF HIS PEERS-believed in this Navy Veteran. This guy Cruz should sue the county for that same money-80K- AND millions more for 2 and a half years of his life, reputation, personal and professional scars that may never heal. That judge is CRAZY!!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • offendedFebruary 28, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    I would ask that you refrain from referring to this guy as Cruz. I know its his last name but it is also mine and several million other people on here and we don't want him simply identified as "CRUZ" because that may reflect on us.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • smhFebruary 28, 2013 - 6:48 pm

    Lol... let me get this straight. Just because someone called him by his last name you got offended? Get a thicker skin... This guy has gone through enough. For the Judge to request payment of $80,000 is just ridiculous. Collect the money after he sues the county for millions...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ...February 28, 2013 - 9:37 pm

    That must have been one minute piece of flesh. I don't generally see bits of me fall off when I type, nor do I see bits of me land on a mirror when I sneeze, because I simply do not sneeze on mirrors. I certainly he is innocent. If not, shame on the jurors. If so, good job justice system.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ...February 28, 2013 - 9:38 pm

    That must have been one minute piece of flesh. I don't generally see bits of me fall off when I type, nor do I see bits of me land on a mirror when I sneeze, because I simply do not sneeze on mirrors. I certainly hope he is innocent. If not, shame on the jurors. If so, good job justice system.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Former JurorMarch 02, 2013 - 12:32 am

    As a juror on the previous trial, I can tell you we never questioned if the DNA under the victim's fingernail was Cruz's. The science was solid and most of us never had any doubts about that at all. Nor did we seriously question whether Gallegos' DNA could have been present as well, masked by the profiles of the victim and the defendant. That was 'smoke and mirrors' for the most part, as Gallegos wasn't the one on trial, though that was hard to remember at times. The ONLY question (for 8 of us) was "Is it reasonable to believe that the DNA got there some other way than during the attack?" The case for 'secondary transfer' was very strong, and many of us felt that the miniscule amount of genetic material (4 nanograms according to the DOJ evidence tech at the time of the first trial) easily could have been picked up from the computer keyboard that the defendant touched just a week or two before the crime... or from the 'cookies and cola' that the victim's daughter got from the suspect just the day before. A suspect who was, by the way, documented by an ER doctor to have been conjested and phlegmy with bronchitis. So to the commentor above, yes it was an EXTREMELY small bit of flesh - too small to really even be called a 'bit of flesh' - at least in the former trial, it was referred to only as 'genetic material.' It was testified that a gram is about the size of a quarter of a sugar cube and a nanogram is ONE BILLIONTH of a gram! We even asked, and received clarification from the Prosecutor's forensic witness, the amount was so small, he couldn't say what the foreign DNA was suspended in. (We wanted to know if it was mixed with the victim's own blood as that would give us a hint as to when it got there.) To another commentor above, yes, the Public Defender was amazing. He renewed my faith in the US Justice System. Not to say that the Prosecutor did a bad job, she was passionate and determined, but we just could not get around the fact that the ONLY evidence against Ricardo Cruz was literally a microscopic speck.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Hood-Courtland: Small towns boast interesting facts

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1

 
Vallejo Symphony launches new season Sept. 21

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Opponents: State water plan will destroy Delta

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New role for symphony conductor begins next year

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Prolific pears rule Courtland area

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
1 critical after 2 shot at Fairfield bus stop

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Dare Devil Chaos Coaster set for Six Flags debut in 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Vallejo festival will celebrate Wilderness Act anniversary

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Candace Lightner: Founder of MADD, Armijo grad

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Police in Vacaville schedule DUI checkpoint

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Suisun police plan holiday weekend checkpoint

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
No plea as Vacaville homicide suspect appears in court

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Fairfield man faces trial on child sex charges

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Vacaville man convicted of fifth DUI

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Accused park shooters set for probable cause hearing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Solano continues to deal with earthquake

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Bunting earns praise for role in paint case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A8

Weather for Aug. 29, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Mom won’t be charged in school confrontation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California Supreme Court pick confirmed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Feds to resume leasing for fracking in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

High school buddies followed similar path to jihad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drugs killed Oklahoma inmate in troubled execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

4 killed in New Mexico crash of medical flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
US rebukes Oklahoma for ditching school standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Suit claims police brutality at Ferguson protests

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Flight diverts to Boston over reclined-seat upset

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Testimony wraps up in former Va. governor trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Gun tourism grows in popularity in recent years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Obama sets no timeline for action on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Obama rules out US military action in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
UN Security Council meets on Ukraine crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Russian columns enter Ukraine; leader urges calm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
A look at the Islamic State militants in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Jihadists kill dozens of captured Syrian soldiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
UN: Ebola disease caseload could reach 20,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Attempt to call missing jet may alter search area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Europe seeks role in postwar Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

More ways to help stop bullies

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
How about keeping our ISIS plan secret?

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Question of the week: Is US policy on hostages correct?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

What should the US do about the Islamic State?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

How do I deal with my overweight cousin who smells like cat urine?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 29-Sept. 4

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘As Above’ so-so

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Review: Ex-007 actor spying again in ‘Nov. Man’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: The case against binge-watching TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Entertainment calendar: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
Jolie, Pitt wed privately at chateau in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Sports

Prep football preview: Rio Vista looks to get back to playoffs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Angels rally in 10th for 4-3 win over Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Record-setting Petit leads Giants past Rockies 4-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Carr’s 3 TDs lead Raiders past Seahawks 41-31

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Rise in flags makes NFL defenders wary of contact

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

After Rice, NFL increases domestic violence bans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
USC coach accepts some blame in Shaw situation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Williams overcomes 3 early double-faults to win at U.S. Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Mickelson in a bind with 4 straight playoff events

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Weakened US team aims for world basketball title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local youngster will play baseball on national stage

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B9, 1 Comment | Gallery

Week Zero prep football capsules

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

Stewart returning to competition after fatal crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

This date in sports history for Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Power looks for elusive IndyCar title at Fontana

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

.

Business

M235i revives classic BMW memories

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.1 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Obama touts revised economic growth numbers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US economy grew at brisk 4.2 pct. rate in Q2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ukraine conflict weighs on markets; Retailers fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Abercrombie name to shrink from clothing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survey: Americans’ pessimism on economy has grown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Apple to unveil next products at Sept. 9 event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lois C. Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13