Police arrest suspect in murder of New Cassel mom

The ex-boyfriend of a 24-year-old New Cassel woman was arrested Friday and charged in her death. Leonard Valdez-Cruz, the former boyfriend of Joanna Bird, was arraigned at Nassau University Medical Center

News 12 Staff

Mar 23, 2009, 7:09 PM

Updated 5,600 days ago

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The ex-boyfriend of a 24-year-old New Cassel woman was arrested Friday and charged in her death.
Leonard Valdez-Cruz, the former boyfriend of Joanna Bird, was arraigned at Nassau University Medical Center on second-degree murder charges after he requested to be seen by a doctor.
"He's in the hospital now trying to act crazy," says the victim's mother, Sharon Dorsett. "He isn't crazy. He needs to be in this courtroom right now and getting sentenced to death."
Police say Bird, a single mother of two, was stabbed to death Thursday afternoon in her New Cassel home. Her family blames the mistakes made by police and prosecutors for Bird's death.
"He kept threatening her that he was going to kill her, and how he was going to do it," Dorsett says, referring to Valdez-Cruz.
According to a spokesperson for the Nassau District Attorney's Office, Valdez-Cruz violated an order of protection issued last May at least three times. In an incident on Jan. 25, Valdez-Cruz was arrested after he allegedly dragged Bird out of her house and tried to stuff her in the trunk of his car. Prosecutors say the charges were dropped when Bird failed to cooperate with the investigation.
Bird's relatives say after the January arrest, there was another chance to apprehend Valdez-Cruz. They say police were called to Bird's house last Wednesday, one day before the murder, when Valdez-Cruz allegedly threatened her, violating the order of protection. Homicide detectives could not confirm that police were at Bird's home Wednesday.
A memorial service will be held for Bird Monday at 6 p.m. in front of her house at 421 Grand Boulevard in New Cassel.


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