Alejandro Cruz-Santiago

 Alejandro Cruz-Santiago

Trial testimony against the man who killed Hugo Garcia-Hernandez in 2017 spared Alejandro Cruz-Santiago the possible penalty of a first-degree murder charge.

Cruz-Santiago, 40, told a Lancaster County jury in December that he saw Jose Ferrufino fatally shoot 35-year-old Garcia-Hernandez in his Providence Township home.

The jury found Ferrufino guilty of first-degree murder for the point-blank shooting of Garcia-Hernandez, whom he suspected was having an affair with his wife. Ferrufino was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Cruz-Santiago pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder, burglary and conspiracy to burglary in exchange for a 12- to 25-year sentence in state prison. Lancaster County Judge David Ashworth accepted the plea and ordered sentence.

"We would not have convicted Ferrufino without him," said Assistant District Attorney Barry Goldman.

Ahead of testifying, Santiago was assaulted by prison inmates, according to a previous LNP report. He had a puffy left eye when he appeared in court. Cruz-Santiago said Ferrufino befriended him and recruited him to tie up and rob Garcia-Hernandez on March 22, 2017. He said he had no idea Ferrufino planned to kill Garcia-Hernandez.

Cruz-Santiago, a cook formerly of Elizabethtown, declined to make a comment in court Thursday.