Defendant Cecilio Cruz ordered back to jail until higher bond paid

Angel Gonzalez, middle left, and Johanora Gonzalez Chavez, middle right, walk with supporters into court for the hearing of Cecilo Cruz on Thursday morning in Camp Verde. Cruz is accused of killing their sister Marisol Gonzalez 17 years ago. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Angel Gonzalez, middle left, and Johanora Gonzalez Chavez, middle right, walk with supporters into court for the hearing of Cecilo Cruz on Thursday morning in Camp Verde. Cruz is accused of killing their sister Marisol Gonzalez 17 years ago. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

CAMP VERDE -- Cecilio Cruz is back in jail.

The 34-year-old Cruz, indicted on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Marisol Gonzalez and her unborn full-term infant 17 years ago, was in court for his initial appearance in Yavapai Superior Court. At the Thursday appearance, Judge Michael Bluff restored the $100,000 cash-only bond originally set by Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley after he was indicted and was led away.

When Cruz was recently arrested at the Tucson cemetery, where he works as a family life counselor, he was booked into the Pima County Jail and arraigned by a Justice of the Peace. At that appearance, the judge reduced the cash-only $100,000 bond to a simple $10,000 bond. He raised the money and paid the bond and was released.

Judge Bluff, in restoring the original bond, said, "I don't know how it got changed or why. But there was no hearing that the victims were notified of the release conditions." He said he considered it an error that violated victims' rights.

Cruz' lawyer John Napper argued that, likewise, the defense has not been allowed to respond to release modifications during this initial appearance. Napper asked for a transcript of this proceeding, signaling that he may challenge the decision.

Bluff asked Cruz about his finances to determine if he qualified for a public defender. Cruz said he was paying a mortgage on a mobile home and owned three cars, one a salvage project car. His wife also works and he pays childcare. Bluff determined that a defense attorney would be provided, but Cruz would need to reimburse financial costs.

The court also allowed use of a camera in the courtroom by the Verde Independent. Napper, however, objected that the case has already been "reported widely." He especially complained about a TV program that he alleged had been "extremely slanted." He said his defendant should have his due process rights.

Bluff allowed that since Cruz was not dressed in jail garb, he would allow still pictures as long as they did not include pictures of victims.

After Bluff ordered the re-instatement, Napper countered that no pictures should be allowed when he is led away by guards. Bluff agreed.

Cruz sat in the courtroom with 14 family members and friends. The Gonzalez gathering included eight family members.

A case management conference was set Monday, Oct. 20.

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