Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today announced that Juan Diaz, age 29, of Providence, was found guilty by a Providence County Superior Court jury of the 2008 murder of his ex-girlfriend Mayra Cruz. The verdict was returned one day after a nine-day retrial before Superior Court Justice Robert D. Krause. Diaz was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, death resulting.
During the trial, the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that on June 25, 2008, Juan Diaz shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Mayra Cruz (age 26) and then fled the scene. That day, Diaz placed a call to the Pawtucket Police Department stating that he shot his girlfriend by accident, indicating she was vomiting and had stopped breathing. When the Police responded to the residence on Reservoir Avenue, they found Cruz behind a locked door, cold to the touch. Neither the defendant nor the weapon was found at the scene.
At approximately the same time, a woman identifying herself as Diaz' girlfriend walked into the Pawtucket Police to report that her boyfriend, Juan Diaz, called and said he shot Mayra Cruz during an accident. While at the police station, the woman received several more calls from the defendant talking about the murder, indicating he and Mayra were in an argument, and the gun discharged when he attempted to get it away from her.
While the defendant continued to speak with his girlfriend, the police were able to identify his location as Albany, NY, where he was arrested by the United States Marshall the following day.
This defendant was originally tried and found guilty by a jury in March 2010. On appeal, the Rhode Island Supreme Court had concerns with the jury instructions given by the Court during the first trial and remanded the case back to the Superior Court.
Pawtucket Police Detective Charles Devine led the investigation and Assistant Attorney General Maureen Keough prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.