Jury begins deliberations in retrial of Fairfield homicide suspect

By From page A3 | February 27, 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 — Jurors began deliberating the fate of a man who faces a murder charge for the 2003 brutal stabbing death of a retired nurse in her Fairfield home.

Ricardo Cruz did not take the witness stand during his three-week trial, which was capped Tuesday with closing arguments from the prosecutor, Terry Ray, and Cruz’s defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tommy Barrett. The arguments largely echoed the same points raised during Cruz’s first jury trial last year that ended with a deadlocked jury split 8-4 for a not guilty verdict.

The DNA match between Cruz and the DNA found in a minute bit of flesh found under a fingernail of Kathryn Vitagliano was mentioned repeatedly by Ray, who told jurors that Cruz may have been an obsessed lover who had previously dated one of Vitagliano’s adult daughters.

Vitagliano, 55, was alone in her Robin Drive home fixing the family Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 26, 2003, when her cooking was interrupted by a killer who stabbed her nearly a dozen times in the neck, head and chest during a struggle in the kitchen and living room.

Cruz, 37, had been at the home a few weeks earlier, prompting 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.

Barrett described the DNA match as “one little piece of evidence,” telling jurors that Cruz had no motive for killing Vitagliano. Barrett also pointed to an ex-boyfriend of Vitagliano’s as “the actual killer,” although there was no evidence from the crime scene, such as DNA evidence, pointing to the ex-boyfriend as a suspect.

Jurors deliberated briefly in the afternoon before going home. Deliberations are scheduled to resume Wednesday morning.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] 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.

Discussion | 1 comment

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  • G-ManFebruary 27, 2013 - 2:39 am

    American Justice on steroids with fries and chips..I know I've made fun of Fairfield..but in all seriousness..I'm sorry for your town for this..it can happen anywhere..myconcern is it's happening everywhere...pretty soon it will be like NIGHT OF LIVING DEAD...filmed about a half an hour from where I live coincidentlyenough...STR??..cue the clip..and btw why don't you post more?

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