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Jury deliberates in Pablo Cruz Trial, no verdict yet
Day one of jury deliberations in the murder trial of Pablo Cruz wrapped up Tuesday with no verdict. The jury deliberated for about an hour before calling it a day.
Cruz is accused of driving drunk and hitting a biker before taking police on a high speed chase nearly two years ago.
The family of the victim, 45-year-old Paul Merges Jr., is hoping Cruz will be found guilty of the most serious charge, which is second-degree murder. However, they say nothing can make up for the loss their family is dealing with.
"I want justice to be served and that's all I ask," Merges' stepdaughter Tia Hayes said.
It's the one request from the family of Merges Jr. A man investigators say was killed after being hit on his bicycle by a white pickup truck driven by Crus.
Investigators say Cruz led police on a 20-minute chase and did not stop despite the Merges' body hanging from his ladder rack the entire time.
"That's somebody's father, somebody's son, hanging off his roof rack. Bloodied. Looking at him. And he kept going," Hayes said through tears.
But the defense says before all the chaos the street was dark, Merges was not in the bike line because of parked cars on the street and he was dressed in dark clothing.
"My argument is that Pablo Cruz never saw that bicyclist," Defense Attorney Michael Feit said.
Feit says it was an accident. He says Cruz was scared but not a murderer.
"There's no testimony that this white truck smashed into other vehicles [or] drove on the sidewalk," Feit said.
The prosecution painted a different picture of Cruz.
"For 20 minutes the defendant drove with Paul Merges' mangled body trapped in the ladder rack of his truck," Prosecuting Attorney Mary Tanner-Richter said.
Tanner-Richter says Cruz showed no regard for human life not only as he refused to pull over to see if Merges was alive but also as he wove through a swarm of police cars.
"The defendant didn't care about anyone but himself that night. He had one mission and one mission only and that was to get home without getting pulled over by the police," Tanner-Richter said.
As police dash cam video shows, Cruz was eventually stopped after the engine of his truck blew. But by then the damage to Merges' family was already done.
"Pablo Cruz. You can't do anything to him comparable to what happened to my husband and the damage he's done to Paul's children. My children," Merges' ex-wife Kristina Merges said.
Jury deliberations will continue Wednesday morning and although there could be verdict by then any sort of sentencing will not happen until later on. If a guilty verdict is handed down Cruz will be able to appeal but also at a later date.