Jessica Cruz, then 19, gave birth to a boy in a public restroom in 2011. She allegedly strangled her baby and then dumped his body in a trash can and walked away. Shop staff found the baby dead in the trash, wrapped in a plastic bag.
Cruz has admitted to wrapping the baby in a plastic bag and dumping him in a trash can but Cruz pleaded not guilty to murder.
She told police she panicked after giving birth in the shop’s bathroom because her mother, from whom she had been hiding her pregnancy, was waiting outside. Employees at the Salvation Army store in Streamwood found the almost 7-pound baby dead in the trash, wrapped in a plastic bag.
During a court hearing, a videotape played showing Cruz admitting to killing the baby. During the hour-long interview taped after her arrest, Cruz repeatedly mentions the fear of her mother finding out about the pregnancy. When officials ask Cruz if the baby was still alive at birth, she says, “I think so.”
When asked if she took the life of her baby boy, she told authorities, “Yes, but I don’t remember tying him up like that.”
That confusion about the status of the baby at the time of death has apparently led to a mistrial and a judge has ordered a new trial in the case. Here’s more:
A Cook County judge on Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of a Hanover Park woman charged with strangling her newborn baby to death almost three years ago.
The judge’s decision after jurors in the trial of 22-year-old Jessica Cruz indicated they had deadlocked after about 20 hours of deliberations. The jury told the judge the deliberations became “contentious” and “detrimental,” according to the Daily Herald.
A tentative retrial for Cruz is set in December. Prosecutors declined to comment.
Assistant Public Defender Deana Binstock said she is impressed with the jury and “they did the best they could.”