Updated: 07/23/2014 6:10 PM
Created: 07/23/2014 11:15 AM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - For the family of Paul Merges, Junior, it was a tragedy of horrendous proportion.
"He'll (Pablo Cruz) will go back to jail for probably a good portion of the remainder of his life," said the victim's brother, Gene Merges. "We, on the other hand, will go to the cemetery to see my brother and there's really no victors here. Everybody loses. It was a senseless and depraved act."
Merges was dressed in dark clothing, riding a bike at 12:50 in the morning on Manning Boulevard when a pick-up truck driven by Cruz, refusing to stop for police, smashed into him, killing Merges almost instantly.
Cruz kept going, leading police on a 20 minute chase with Merges' body dangling from the roof across the passenger side window.
"When you put it all together, I've never seen conduct quite like this in my years of doing this," said prosecutor Mary Tanner-Richter.
There was video of the chase, a dozen police and emergency responders to confirm Cruz was with the truck. He was treated at the hospital for injuries and blood drawn to confirm he was drunk. There was a booking photo showing injuries, yet despite all that, Cruz insisted on taking the witness stand and telling the jury numerous times he wasn't there.
His attorney questions Cruz's ability to make rational decisions.
"When I said to him, you know, there is a defense to some of these charges and he never was receptive to even talking about that and that's just because of his condition," said Michael Feit.