Updated 02/13/2013 06:42 PM
Man pleads not guilty in Kingston murder
The 49-year-old Ulster County man accused of strangling a Kingston woman pleaded not guilty to murder in the second degree. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on some new details being released in the case.
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KINGSTON, N.Y. -- Audelis Cruz hid his face as he left Kingston City Court, heading to the Ulster County Jail Wednesday morning. Police say the 49-year-old admitted to strangling Anita Jacobs-Royer in her Third Avenue home, where she was living alone.
“Police can sometimes during their zealousness to resolve an investigation convince people to confess to crimes they didn't commit,” said Andrew Kossover, public defendant.
But according to Kossover, he has committed several other crimes. He says he’s spent the majority of his life in and out of state prison having recently been released on parole. And it was only a few short months until he met Jacobs-Royer.
“This was not random act. This was not a situation where the victim was a stranger to the defendant. As far as the extent of the relationship, I view the victim primarily as a Good Samaritan, a person that was trying to help him that was trying to be kind to him,” said Holley Carnright, Ulster County District Attorney.
Those who knew the 45-year-old self-employed jewelry maker say they aren’t shocked she was lending a helping hand, even if it was to a person she hardly knew.
“She just had that thread of life that everyone related to. Her vivaciousness, her love of people, that’s what I remember about her,” said Ujjala Schwartz, Interfaith Minister.
And many others share the same memory, helping them to cope with the tragedy of a life taken too soon.
“She was not afraid of death. She really lived in both worlds…she was very spiritually oriented. Even in this tragic death she is in a space of feeling elated because that’s who she was and that’s who her soul was.”
Friends and family are welcome to pay their final respects to Anita at Keyser Funeral Home Thursday evening.
As for Cruz, he’ll be back in city court for a preliminary hearing next Tuesday.