Jury complete for Milford murder trial
MILFORD — A full jury of 12 and four alternates has been chosen in the murder-kidnap trial of Javier Cruz-Falcon, 38, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 2.
“We’re all set,” defense lawyer Carmine J. Giuliano said recently.
Cruz-Falcon has pleaded not guilty in the Aug. 23, 2009, shooting death of Jose Chevere, 28, of New Haven, in Milford’s north end following the alleged theft of more than $500,000 worth of cocaine.
In pretrial moves, Superior Court Judge Denise D. Markle ruled that codefendant Daniel Dingui-Cardona can testify in the case, Giuliano said.
Dingui-Cardona allegedly told his cellmate Orlayn Marquez, when they were being held at Cheshire Correctional Institution, that he was the killer, Giuliano said.
While Marquez, 29, is listed as a potential witness, Giuliano does not know if he’s going to call him.
Marquez, convicted of first-degree kidnapping in an unconnected case, is in the Cheshire prison.
Cruz-Falcon, formerly of West Haven, is being held in lieu of $2 million bail at Bridgeport Correctional Center.
Jury selection began Nov. 27. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Charles M. Stango is the prosecutor.
Cruz-Falcon’s first trial, in February, ended in a hung jury.
For the new trial, the state needs about five days to present evidence, according to Stango.
More than a dozen police officers and two dozen civilians could be among those testifying for the state.
Giuliano, of Fusco & Giuliano in Hartford, has said his client might not testify.
Cruz-Falcon is charged with murder, capital felony and kidnapping. He could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Giuliano had said the prior jury could not reach a verdict because the testimony of Eusebio Melendez-Ventura, 25, formerly of West Haven, was in question.
Melendez-Ventura has pleaded guilty to first-degree kidnap and conspiracy to commit kidnap and is being held at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield in lieu of $2 million bail.
Giuliano has said it was Melendez-Ventura who killed Chevere.
Dingui-Cardona, 38, also is at MacDougall-Walker in lieu of $2 million bail and will be sentenced Feb. 26 for kidnap and conspiracy to commit kidnap, records show.
Melendez-Ventura and Cruz-Falcon were roommates who believed Chevere stole drugs from them, Melendez-Ventura testified last winter.
Melendez-Ventura testified he drove a vehicle to Zion Hill Road, where Cruz-Falcon pulled Chevere from the vehicle and shot him six times.