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10:05 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

20-year-old murder case needs more time

Man accused of killing girlfriend, their unborn son

Cecilio Cruz

WNI File Photo

Cecilio Cruz

photo

Marisol Gonzalez

A trial date is yet to be set for Cecilio Cruz, indicted on charges of murder and manslaughter in the 1997 killing of his girlfriend, Marisol Gonzalez, and her unborn son, following a pretrial conference on Monday, April 24.

Cruz and Gonzalez were both 17 when she was killed in Cottonwood. Police said the two had been dating, and Gonzalez found out she was pregnant with Cruz’s child after they broke up.

Her body was discovered in an alley near her home on March 25, 1997, the same day she was set to have labor induced to deliver her baby boy.

She had been shot in the face.

Police have alleged that Cruz spoke with Gonzalez by phone the previous night.

A trial of this case had been set for May, 2017, but Cruz’s attorneys, Grace Guisewite and Damon Rossi, withdrew from the case due to an unspecified conflict of interest.

Representing Cruz at the pretrial conference on Monday was his new attorney, Sabrina Shaw of Shaw Law Firm.

Representing the state was Yavapai County deputy attorney Steve Young.

Overseeing the conference was Superior Court Judge Jennifer Campbell.

When asked where the preparations for a trial stand, Shaw gave a detailed account of what is still required before her firm will be ready to discuss the setting of a trial date.

“As the court’s aware, this case is very involved and has a lot of material,” Shaw said. “There are still over 1,000 pages of grand jury transcripts that I have not looked at from the original grand jury.”

Shaw estimated that she could complete the review of the cases material within 90 days.

“This case is almost 20 years old, so I appreciate the court’s patience and understand it’s a case that everyone wants to see completed, and I certainly am wanting to push that as well,” Shaw said.

Young said he understood the situation and has no issue with the estimate Shaw provided.

“I know from working with Ms. Shaw that she has and will be diligent,” Young said.

Another pretrial conference for the case will take place Monday, July 31, at 4 p.m. at the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott.

“That will give you the opportunity to make brief statements to the new judge concerning what the case is about and what the plans moving forward are, and schedule a trial,” Campbell said.

Cambell’s last day serving the Yavapai County Superior Court is Friday, April 28, for she has been appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Superior Court Judge Patricia Trebesch will, therefore, be overseeing Cruz’s case going forward.