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Florida Supreme Court to hear Volusia County death penalty case

Christian Cruz sentenced to death after killing man he mistook for drug dealer

Florida Supreme Court halts right to speedy trial due to backlog created by pandemic

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up a Volusia County death penalty case concerning a man convicted of killing a man he thought was a drug dealer.

A jury recommended in 2019 that Christian Cruz receive the death penalty after finding him guilty of kidnapping, beating and shooting Christopher Jeremy, who was 25 years old.

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Authorities said Cruz and another man, Justin Charles, broke into Jemery’s apartment in Deltona and 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.

Cruz was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2013 attack.

Attorneys for Cruz appealed the death penalty last year. Court records show on Dec. 21, 2020, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Cruz’s attorneys are scheduled to make a 30-minute oral argument on March 4.