Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Jury acquits man in ’03 cold-case homicide retrial

By
From page A1 | February 28, 2013 | 7 Comments

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

‘Same Time, Next Year’ opens in Benicia

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘We Got Next’ Comedy Tour stops at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Man to stand trial in rural Vacaville killing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Puppies to take part in Vallejo dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Afisivalu announces run for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Tonnesen seeks Fairfield City Council seat

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Family matriarch celebrates 100th birthday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Barbecue brings big crowd, progress to Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Assist-A-Grad wraps up interviews

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Night closures possible at Merchant Street ramp

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Napa County bridge to close for work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Town hall on crime set in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Crash shuts I-80 offramp to Highway 12

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Putin’s choice of words shed light on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Who gained, and what, at Ukraine talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Ukrainian unity on display with peaceful rallies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Salmon released in California river restoration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Jury convicts husband in Iraqi woman’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
1 dead, 1 injured in California boating accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

BART fined $210,000 for worker deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Military shell prompted evacuation of hundreds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California health care sign-ups exceed projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Dirty creek, old purse solve four-decade mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3 1/2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Holder: Hate crimes ‘an affront to who we are’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Peru volcano prompts evacuation of 4,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Nigeria: Fate of 115 abducted girls unknown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

S. Sudan: 12 die after mob attacks UN base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Food brings back fond memories

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
Is Jeb Bush too old school for the new GOP?

By Doyle Mcmanus | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Internationally out of touch

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Watch out for grandson scam

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

Why so much spent to find a plane?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for April 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My husband tells our sons that they don’t need to listen to me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

 
Horoscopes for April 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

 
Week in preview April 18-24, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Review: ‘Heaven Is for Real’ heartfelt but dull

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lost radio program featuring Hank Williams found

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
‘Real Housewives’ TV star faces battery charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Ill, hospitalized Miley Cyrus postpones more shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Dodgers get to Bumgarner early for win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Badminton update: Rodriguez, Armijo head toward post season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7 | Gallery

MEL boys roll to easy win over SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Short-handed SCAC girls ‘gut out’ all-star win over MEL

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Sharks beat Kings 6-3 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Dodgers’ Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Miguel Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sponsorship woes put Swan Racing future in doubt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Ex-quarterback McNabb spends day in Arizona jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Season wrapup: Sacramento Kings’ ‘new era’ off to slow start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Clippers-Warriors series billed as must-see TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kuchar builds on Masters momentum, shares Heritage lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
War of words in Northwestern-athletes’ union fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Shumenov gets big chance in ring against ageless Hopkins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Seattle 1B Choi banned 50 games for positive test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Boston Marathon makes room for more runners

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Stanford takes lead at LPGA LOTTE tournament

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Vanden clinches at least share of SCAC boys tennis title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Toyota Camry gets a top-to-bottom makeover

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Judge won’t order recalled GM cars to be parked

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Walmart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Dilbert

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

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Beetle Bailey

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

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13