“Oh, God, Help me! Help me!” Amanda Duran screamed as she ran for her life from ex-boyfriend, Gilberto Cruz, an illegal alien. (1) Cruz intended to kill Amanda.
Cruz had gone to Amanda’s Edgewater, Colorado home on the evening of October 4, 2006. He was angry over her decision to break up with him. Amanda would not reconcile. Cruz produced a sawed-off shotgun and three shells from under his shirt. Cruz loaded the gun, but it failed to fire. They struggled over the gun. He reloaded. The gun still would not fire.
Amanda fled to a neighbor’s house, knocking on the door and begging for help. Cruz shot Amanda Duran in the back of the head from a few feet away. He left in a pick-up truck. “Just drove off like nothing happened,” a witness said. (2)
“If I knew how to operate a shotgun, she wouldn’t have died in the street, she would have been dead in the house” according to testimony by Cruz. (3) Cruz had been planning the murder for a week.
Amanda Duran, 22, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 17, but it did not change her love of life nor her plans. Amanda Cruz was an art student and aspiring rapper.
Eduardo Espinoza-Martinez, an alias from a prior arrest, was the name Cruz was using at the time of the murder.
Cruz was convicted of first degree murder and possession of a dangerous weapon in July, 2007. In August, Cruz was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Cruz’s attorney, Rex Hygei, requested Cruz be absent at the sentencing hearing as it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” because Cruz would have “to listen to negative things about himself” from Amanda’s family and friends. Judge Russell refused the request. (4)