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Houston Man Who Fled to Honduras Sentenced to 50 Years for Shooting Friend
A 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.
“This 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 he made.”
Christopher Joseph Cruz, 26, pleaded guilty to murder and opted to have a judge decide his punishment after a hearing on Thursday. State District Judge Frank Aguilar sentenced Cruz to 50 years in prison for fatally shooting his friend Raymond James Lindgren, a married father of two, on Jan. 24, 2018.
Lindgren and another man were working on a car outside Lindgren’s apartment complex north of Bissonnet in the Braeburn area of southwest Houston.
A 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.
Cruz 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.
Assistant 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.
“If 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.”