Man gets prison in attack on girlfriend
BY BRETT HAMBRIGHT, Staff Writer
Richard Cruz would have killed his girlfriend last June had neighbors not intervened, the judge told him.
First, Cruz struck the woman in the head with a hard object, knocking her to the ground, according to testimony.
But the 41-year-old Lancaster city man didn't stop there, it was said in court.
"Clearly that day, he wanted more," prosecutor James Reeder said at Cruz's sentencing Wednesday.
Cruz jumped on top of the 49-year-old woman and strangled her until she lost consciousness, according to testimony. Neighbors who heard the struggle came into the couple's apartment and pulled Cruz off the woman.
"I honestly believe if those people wouldn't have come in, you would have killed her," Lancaster County President Judge Joseph Madenspacher told Cruz. "If you did it to her, you could do it again to someone else."
Madenspacher, while the victim listened from the courtroom gallery, ordered Cruz to state prison for 81-w to 20 years.
She sustained debilitating injuries in the June 20 attack, Reeder said in court.
"This was a senseless, savage attack upon a timid, peaceful, nonthreatening person," Reeder said.
John Churchville, Cruz's defense lawyer, said "jealous rage" fueled the attack. There had been an altercation a few days before the June 20 beating, it was said in court.
"Mr. Cruz, for whatever reason, just snapped," Churchville told the judge.
Madenspacher said of the victim: "I believe she was terrorized beyond any belief."