Jury deliberates fate of man accused of bicyclist's murder

Updated: 07/22/2014 7:46 PM
Created: 07/22/2014 12:39 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

ALBANY - The jury went home late Tuesday afternoon without a verdict in the case of Pablo Cruz.

He's the man accused of leading police on a chase, after hitting a bicyclist -- leaving him to die on the roof rack of his truck.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutor Mary Tanner-Richter argued Pablo Cruz cared only about himself as he led police on a 20-minute high speed chase with victim Paul Merges, Junior's body hanging over the passenger window.

“You see the defendant's wickedness in never once attempting to swerve or slowdown,” she said.

Tanner-Richter played almost a half an hour's worth of police car video from several units as they chased after their suspect from Albany to Rotterdam.

In court on Monday, Cruz had taken the witness stand and boldly claimed it wasn't he they had chased, even though it was his truck and the jury had seen a booking photo that certainly looked like Cruz after the suspect was apprehended.

His lawyer Michael Feit made no attempt to adopt Cruz's claim of non-involvement. Instead, his entire summation defended Cruz's driving.

“What I'm suggesting, ladies and gentlemen, is that this is not depraved indifference to human life,” said Feit.

However, the prosecutor gets the last argument. She projected still pictures and video of the accident scene where Cruz's truck plowed into the bicycle ridden by Merges. When she displayed graphic pictures of the smashed truck with Merges lifeless body hanging down the side, pictures we've judged too upsetting to show in our story, friends and relatives of Merges began sobbing. 

“I thought it was disgusting how he sat there and laughed and smiled at a dead body. Somebody's father. Somebody's son was hanging off his roof rack bloody, looking at him,” said Tia Hayes, the victim’s stepdaughter.


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