Joanna Bird murder suspect speaks to News 12

A month before his murder trial is set to begin, the man accused of killing Joanna Bird sat down with News 12 Long Island to help clear his name and profess his innocence.

Leonardo Valdez-Cruz is accused of stabbing the young New Cassel mother to death on March 19. He was arrested the next day and is charged with first-degree murder. Valdez-Cruz is the father of one of Bird?s children.

Bird?s death led to an internal affairs investigation of nine police officers who failed to arrest Valdez-Cruz for violating an order of protection against Joanna in the days leading up to her death.

Valdez-Cruz spoke exclusively to News 12 from Nassau County jail over the objections of his attorney. Though he admits to having problems in his relationship with Joanna, issues with drugs and arrests as a juvenile, he says he did not kill Bird.

Valdez-Cruz' trial is scheduled to begin at the end of January. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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