Judge declares mistrial due to hung jury

The fate of a West Seneca man accused of murdering his own mother remains up in the air.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang declared a mistrial on Friday, in the murder trial of 45-year-old Primitivo Cruz. After three days of deliberations, jurors were unable to agree on a verdict.

Cruz’s defense attorney Frank Bogulski said, “Any criminal case, obviously, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And our theory of the case was that the wrong person was on trial.”

Cruz has always denied killing his 77-year-old mother, Carol Quinn, a retired teacher’s aide for the Buffalo Public Schools who was well-loved and respected in the community. Bogulski says the physical evidence backs Cruz up.

“There were clothes found in the basement of Carol Quinn’s apartment with blood on them, and that blood was not – did not belong to Cruz, and it did not belong to Carol Quinn,” he said. “To us, that’s the real killer. And I think the West Seneca Police need to find out whose clothes they are, and whose blood are on those clothes.”

Quinn’s body was found May 4, 2013 in her Burch Avenue apartment in West Seneca. The medical examiner ruled she died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.

According to a police report, Quinn and Cruz had argued over the laundry about a week earlier. Quinn said her son grabbed her and threw her against a wall.

Bogulski said, “So I think the police solely based their investigation on that fact, rather than looking at some of the other evidence, such as the bloody clothes found in the basement washer.”

The defense attorney has a theory that the real killer could be the same man West Seneca Police have charged with attempted kidnapping, in an attack on an elderly woman in her Fisher Road home last month.

“And if they look at that case, they can solve this case of Carol Quinn. They may be related,” Bogulski said.

Police, however, are not saying that the two cases are connected.

A retrial is tentatively scheduled for May 15. Bogulski says he’ll be exploring the issue of double jeopardy, which would prevent Cruz from being tried again for Carol Quinn’s death.

Until then, Cruz remains in jail.

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