Man sentenced to death for killing man he mistook for drug dealer

Victim was beaten, shot in 2013

Christian Cruz
Christian Cruz (News 6)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A man who kidnapped, beat and shot a man he mistook for a drug dealer was sentenced to death Wednesday for the 2013 crime.

A jury in March recommended that Christian Cruz receive the death penalty for killing Christopher Jemery, 25, after he was convicted of first-degree murder.

Authorities said Cruz and Justin Charles broke into Jemery’s Deltona apartment, beat him, tied him up, threw him into the trunk of his car and drove him to a wooded area in Sanford, where they shot him in the back of the head.

Investigators said Cruz and Charles had been planning to rob a drug dealer who had previously lived in the apartment but moved out.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family during this difficult time. The death sentence will not undue the harm and suffering of the victim and his family, but it does hold the defendant accountable for his viscous and tortuous murder,” State Attorney R.J. Larizza said.

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