Valdez-Cruz found guilty in Joanna Bird murder
Leonardo Valdez-Cruz was found guilty on all charges yesterday in connection with the murder of Joanna Bird.
Valdez-Cruz was accused of torturing and killing his ex-girlfriend last year after months of threats. Bird was found dead March 19, 2009 in her New Cassel home.
Bird's family that was present in the courtroom whispered "yes" in hushed tones each time the jurors found Valdez-Cruz guilty.
Following the verdict, Bird's mother, Sharon Dorset, thanked everyone who supported her family throughout the trial, adding that her daughter "finally got some justice."
The 12-person jury deliberated for a total of six hours over the course of two days to arrive at their verdict. As they walked out of the courtroom, jurors said it was the tape recordings of Valdez-Cruz threatening Bird that sealed his fate.
During the closing arguments, Leonardo Valdez-Cruz's attorney tried to prove that although Bird and Valdez-Cruz did have a volatile relationship, it doesn't mean he would kill her. The attorney also argued there was no physical evidence linking Valdez-Cruz to the killing.
Valdez-Cruz did not take the stand. His defense attorney claims he was not in the house the morning Bird died, but did not give evidence of where he was.
Valdez-Cruz faces life in prison on the first-degree murder charge. He'll be sentenced June 11.
Click "Next" to watch Joanna Bird's mother's reaction to the verdict.
To see News 12's previous coverage of the Joanna Bird case, go to Channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.
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