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Trial continues for man accused of hit-and-run murder

ALBANY - The trial of a Schenectady man accused of hitting and killing a bicyclist in Albany continued Thursday.

Pablo Cruz faces a number of charges including murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the second degree and DWI.

The District Attorney's Office said Cruz hit and killed Paul Merges Jr. back in November of 2012. Prosecutors said Cruz had been drinking, was speeding and didn't pull over for police, even after he allegedly hit Merges and was dragging him on top of his truck.

The bike that police say Merges was riding was entered into evidence Thursday. The wheel frame was bent and the rubber had fallen off.

In court Thursday, the jury heard from several forensic scientists and law enforcement officers about DNA and blood alcohol samples. One forensic scientist testified that Merges DNA was found on the door of Cruz's truck.

Cruz's defense attorney pointed out that those testing the samples don't take them themselves, so they don't know how long the DNA has been there before the sample was taken.

A Deputy from the Sheriff's Office testified that he smelt alcohol on Cruz's breath and took his blood samples into evidence. At one point that deputy had to be called back to the stand to correct one of his statements. He told jurors he mistakenly testified that he gave the blood samples to another law enforcement official but really took them to evidence himself. Cruz's attorney questioned him hard about how he could have forgotten that detail. He explained that the case was two years ago.

CBS6 spoke with both families outside of court today. Merges' family members said they weren't ready to speak.

Cruz's teenage daughter said her father is not a bad man, that he didn't mean for this to happen and that this is a tragedy for both families.
 
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