CHICAGO (AP) — A jury on Wednesday found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the 2016 slayings of six members of his family — including two young boys — inside their Chicago home in 2016.
The jury deliberated for about a day before finding 28-year-old Diego Uribe Cruz guilty of all six counts of first-degree murder of four adults and two children inside their bungalow in the Gage Park neighborhood on the city’s Southwest Side. With the conviction, Uribe Cruz faces a sentence of life in prison without parole, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said.
During the trial, prosecutors alleged that Uribe Cruz shot his aunt, 32-year-Maria Martinez, after he tried to rob her before he fatally stabbed her sons, ages 10 and 13, and stabbed or beat to death other relatives to make sure there were no witnesses. — the last of which was her father, whom he stabbed after he returned from a store with snacks.
“These were women, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins. They were a family,” Jason Fisher, an assistant state’s attorney, told the jury, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Evidence against him included DNA recovered from under Maria Martinez’s fingernails and a small amount of blood that matched that of Uribe Cruz. Prosecutors also showed the jury a video in which Uribe Cruz confessed to some of the details to Chicago police detectives.
Also, Uribe Cruz’s former girlfriend, Jafeth Ramos, testified against him. Ramos, who was originally charged with murder as well as Cruz, testified as part of a plea deal that called for her to plead guilty to armed robbery and agree to cooperate with authorities. According to the Tribune, she is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
She testified that when Uribe Cruz came to the house he asked to talk to Maria Martinez upstairs. There he held her at gunpoint and shot her when she did not give him money. When her brother, Noe Martinez, Jr., came upstairs, Uribe Cruz beat him with the gun and put a knee to his neck when he lost consciousness.
She testified that when Martinez’s mother, 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez, came upstairs, he pushed her down the stairs before stabbing her. Then, she testified, he forced Alexis Cruz, 10, and his 13-year-old brother, Leonardo Cruz search the house for things of value before he stabbed them to death.
The last member of the family to die, prosecutors told the jury, was 62-year-old Noe Martinez Sr., who was stabbed when he walked into the house.