Eleven jurors were ready to convict Primitivo Cruz of murdering his 77-year-old mother, Carol Quinn, but according to the jury foreman, a lone juror resulted in Judge Penny Wolfgang being forced to declare a mistrial.
After three days of deliberations, a mistrial was declared last Friday. Now jury foreman Jane Graves is speaking out about the case, saying one female juror refused to deliberate or review evidence for the entire three days. As a result of the hung jury, 45-year-old Cruz will have a second trial on May 15.
“This girl wouldn’t listen to any of us, as if anything we had to say meant absolutely nothing to her,” Graves said.
Quinn’s body was found May 4, 2013 in her Burch Avenue apartment in West Seneca. The medical examiner ruled the retired teacher’s aide 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.
Cruz’s defense attorney argued the police did not look at all of the evidence and says the real killer could be a man recently charged by West Seneca Police with attempted kidnapping in an attack on an elderly woman in her Fisher Road home last month.
“The police charged Mr. Cruz only three days after Mrs. Quinn was found. So that raises the inference of doubt because it wasn’t a very thorough investigation,” said Attorney Frank Bogulski.
But eleven jurors disagreed with that theory. They were ready to convict Cruz of second degree murder, but the lone juror refused to budge.
Graves said, “She was crying already that she had to be there, and she talked about her personal life and things that were going wrong with her personal life, and kept saying….this case, we all have personal things going on in personal life. We have to do this case.”
After the trial ended, the eleven jurors who wanted to convict Cruz met with the children of Quinn to express their deep frustration with how the trial turned out. David Quinn is Cruz’s half-brother and says he believes Cruz is guilty. Quinn says it will be awful for his family to have to go through another trial.
“It’s disappointing. When you know how stressful it is, and has been on your family, to know that one person just ignored everything,” he said.
Graves said the lone juror sat in a fetal position at times while in the jury room, and left for the bathroom for long stretches of time during deliberations.
“All we wanted to do was bring justice. In blood sweat and tears, we tried, and we deliberated for 35 hours, and she said you’re never going to change my mind,” she said.
Sophie, another juror, agreed with Graves’ account of what took place.
“To be honest, it was quite upsetting and it was essentially wiping out all the time and effort everybody put in,” she said. “I feel really bad for the family.”
Primitivo Cruz continues to be held without bail pending his new trial.