John Cruz was sentenced to death by the State of Arizona for the murder of a police officer. According to court documents John Cruz was involved in a hit and run accident and when tracked down by police Cruz would sneak off and was followed by Officer Patrick Hardesty. During the chase John Cruz would shoot and kill Officer Patrick Hardesty. John Cruz was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
John Cruz 2021 Information
ASPC Florence, Central Unit
PO Box 8200
JOHN M. CRUZ 194940
Florence, AZ 85132
John Cruz More News
On May 26, 2003, Cruz murdered Officer Patrick Hardesty, an on-duty law enforcement officer with the Tucson Police Department. Officer Hardesty had responded to a traffic collision in which Cruz’s vehicle struck another vehicle. Cruz fled the scene and Officer Hardesty and other officers located him inside a nearby apartment. Cruz told the Officers that his name was Frank White and led the Officers to a vehicle parked outside the apartment complex to get identification. Instead of producing his identification, Cruz escaped, sneaking through a hole in a fence right next to the apartments. Officer Hardesty began chasing Cruz on foot while another officer ran back to his police car and drove in the direction that Officer Hardesty was chasing Cruz. Cruz shot and killed Officer Hardesty before the other officers arrived. Cruz fired four shots, including shots to the head and adbomen, from point-blank range.
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A Tucson jury has found John Montenegro Cruz guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Tucson police officer Patrick Hardesty. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Cruz showed very little emotion when the verdict was read Friday afternoon. It took jurors less than three hours to reach a guilty verdict. They deliberated for one hour Thursday and just over an hour Friday.
With 92 potential witnesses, and three weeks in the courtroom, jurors were convinced Cruz shot and killed Officer Hardesty. Nobody actually saw the shooting, but prosecutors linked him to the murder weapon.
“It didn’t surprise me,” said Hardesty’s brother Ed. “I expected the verdict. I sat through all the testimony. So there’s no doubt in my mind John Cruz is guilty.”
Other Tucson officers say they’re relieved, including the detective who was a key prosecution witness and the first person on the scene the day Hardesty died.
“Even with what they described as a mountain of evidence, there’s still in the back of your mind some concern the jury understands what happened that day, and they did,” said Det. Benjamin Waters.
Police Chief Richard Miranda praised prosecutors. He also said the trial took its emotional toll on officers. “It’s been almost two years since Patrick was killed and with time, your feelings get a little better in terms of him dying. But the last few weeks with the trial, we had to relieve those emotions. We’ve all had flashbacks to that day. We all had to relive the burial.”
The trial now moves into the punishment phase. Jurors will have to consider several factors in determining whether Cruz should get a death sentence. The jury has already decided on one aggravating factor: Officer Hardesty was gunned down in the line of duty. The defense will present mitigating factors against a death sentence; it plans to call as many as 15 witnesses when the sentencing phase begins next Tuesday. Those witnesses could include family, friends, and psychiatric experts. The defense will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence — meaning more evidence than the prosecution — that Cruz does not deserve to die.