FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Crime-courts

Prosecution wraps case in retrial of suspected killer

By From page A3 | February 16, 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 — Saving the strongest evidence until last, the prosecution wrapped up its case Friday in the jury trial for the man accused of attacking and killing a retired nurse in her Robin Drive home in 2003.

Kathryn Vitagliano, 55, was alone at home fixing the family Thanksgiving dinner 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.

Ricardo Cruz, the ex-boyfriend of one of Vitagliano’s adult daughters, was arrested for the murder in 2011 after investigators reopened the cold-case and obtained a DNA sample from Cruz, which an expert said matched DNA discovered in minute bits of flesh found underneath the fingernails of Vitagliano’s hand.

The DNA analyst who compared the samples from Cruz and from under the fingernails, crime lab analyst Shawn Kacer, told jurors the odds of some other male other than Cruz being responsible for the DNA found under Vitagliano’s fingernails ranged between one in 19 trillion to one in 500 trillion.

Kacer also said that the crime scene DNA could not be from Vitagliano’s ex-boyfriend, who testified earlier in the week.

Cruz’s attorney has portrayed Vitagliano’s ex-boyfriend as the “real killer.” Kacer also said it was highly unlikely that the DNA found under the fingernails could have ended up there inadvertently because Cruz had visited the Robin Drive home several times before Vitagliano was killed.

This is the second trial for Cruz. A jury deadlocked last year, splitting 8-4 in favor of a not-guilty verdict.

The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

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.
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