TribLIVE

| State


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Dismissal sought in 1980 Pa. firebomb murder case

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, July 13, 2013, 5:48 p.m.
 

GETTYSBURG — One of two men charged in the firebombing and shooting deaths of a woman and her daughter in central Pennsylvania more than three decades ago is seeking dismissal of the case.

Erasmo Cruz, 56, and another man are charged in the August 1980 slayings of 41-year-old Nancy Patterson and 18-year-old Deborah Patterson.

Police have said Molotov cocktails were thrown into the Freedom Township home and the mother and daughter were shot to death by masked men when they ran outside.

Cruz was brought from Puerto Rico to face charges of criminal homicide, conspiracy, arson and burglary. Officials said witnesses told them in 2010 that Cruz, who had been involved with Deborah Patterson, was “extremely jealous and abusive” and she had just ended their relationship.

Defense attorney Karl Rominger argued in documents filed Friday in Adams County Court that developing an adequate defense is impossible because witnesses have died and survivors' memories have faded, The (Hanover) Evening Sun said.

A relative of one of the victims was originally charged but acquitted at trial in 1981.

Rominger's motion cites the earlier charges against another man and said the commonwealth failed to preserve the transcript of that trial, which is now unavailable.

The lack of that record, he said, means a fair trial is not possible.

“There is no reason to believe anybody destroyed anything intentionally,” Rominger said. “But the case law states that it doesn't matter how the transcript was lost.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. Pennsylvania sued by U.S. over police fitness tests
  2. Pennsylvania working to correct upgrade to welfare benefit applications
  3. Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
  4. Corbett, Wolf rush to counter flurry of attack ads
  5. Home sellers are able to remain mum about violent crimes committed there
  6. 2 charged with murder in fatal Philly carjacking
  7. Armed doctor’s actions in Philly shooting reinvigorates debate on gun-carry
  8. Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
  9. Upper St. Clair family’s efforts pay off as governor signs Down syndrome education bill
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.