Houston man who is an American citizen but fled to Honduras after
committing murder in 2018, was sentenced to 50 years in prison this
week, Harris County District Attorney
Kim Ogg announced.
was a premeditated murder, and the defendant thought he could lie his
way out of any responsibility,” Ogg said. “Now he will spend decades in
prison for the decisions
Joseph Cruz, 26, pleaded guilty to murder and opted to have a judge
decide his punishment after a hearing on Thursday. State District Judge
sentenced Cruz to 50 years in prison for fatally shooting his friend
Raymond James Lindgren, a married father of two, on Jan. 24, 2018.
and another man were working on a car outside Lindgren’s apartment
complex north of Bissonnet in the Braeburn area of southwest Houston.
witness testified that Cruz and the victim were arguing over the phone,
and then Cruz drove to the victim’s apartment complex. When Cruz
arrived, he opened fire, shooting
several times, killing Lindgren and wounding the other man. That man
jumped in his truck to drive away, and Cruz shot out the windows of the
truck, trying to kill him as well.
then drove away and ultimately fled to Honduras. After a year in the
foreign country, Cruz turned himself in and was deported back to the
United States to face charges.
In court, he claimed that he had killed Lindgren in sudden passion,
over the argument the two men had.
The judge disagreed. Cruz must serve at least half of the 50-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.
District Attorney Alycia Harvey, who is a division chief at the DA’s
Office, said Cruz acted like he was the victim when it was actually he
who did the attacking.
this defendant had one more bullet, he would have killed the second man
as well, and then it would have been a double murder,” Harvey said.
“His actions that day
were serious, and his sentence reflects how serious it was.”