Motion filed to dismiss murder charges in 1997 death of pregnant teen
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office filed a motion in Superior Court to dismiss the second-degree murder charges against Cecilio Cruz in the 1997 death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
Two weeks ago, a mistrial was declared in a Prescott courtroom after a Yavapai County jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict following ten hours of deliberation.
Cruz was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Marisol Gonzalez, and manslaughter for the death of her baby, Andrew, she was due to deliver the next day. Gonzalez was 36 weeks pregnant at the time of her murder more than 23 years ago. The trial began Nov. 2.
In a Tuesday, Nov. 24, news release, County Attorney Sheila Polk wrote, "Under the rules, the state has 60 days to re-try a case after the jury has hung. Rather than rush back to trial with the same evidence, our decision is to ask the judge to dismiss the charges without prejudice."
To dismiss charges "without prejudice" means the state can refile charges for the murder of Gonzalez at any time in the future if, and when, new evidence comes forward, Polk explained.
"I am grateful to the Cottonwood Police Department for their diligence in pursuing this case. Cold cases are always difficult," Polk said. "My heart goes out to the family of Marisol for the inability of the criminal justice system to help them find closure in the death of their loved one. However, the book is not closed on this case."
The County Attorney’s Office is asking members of the public with information about Marisol’s death to contact Detective Tod Moore with the Cottonwood Police Department. He can be reached at 928-634-4246.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can also contact Yavapai Silent Witness at 800-932-3232 or submit a tip online at http://yavapaisw.com.