Accused killer no stranger to violence, prison

Audelis Cruz.

Audelis Cruz.

A parolee with a long history of violent crime is under arrest for the murder of a woman found dead in her Ponckhockie house last week. On Sunday, Feb. 10 around 2 p.m., Audelis Cruz, 49, was arrested as he stood on a subway platform on 96th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. Cruz’s arrest ended a manhunt that began seven days earlier when police discovered the body of Anita Jacobs-Royer, 45 in her home at 56 Third Ave.

Police believe Cruz, standing six feet tall and weighing 314 pounds, strangled Jacobs-Royer in her home sometime on Friday, Feb. 1, two days before police went to her house at the behest of her sister who told officers that she was concerned because she had been unable to reach her by phone. Investigators later determined that Jacobs-Royers’ Isuzu Trooper was missing from the driveway.

On Monday, Feb. 11, just 30 minutes after Kingston Police posted a photograph of an identical vehicle on the department’s Facebook page, a tip led cops to the SUV which had been abandoned in the parking lot of the SuperLodge motel, not far from Cruz’s residence a short distance up Route 28 at the Budget 19 Motor Inn. The same day, New York State Parole officials issued a warrant for Cruz’s arrest after he failed to make a parole appointment in Poughkeepsie.


After identifying Cruz as a “person of interest” in the homicide, Kingston cops began tracking him. According to one city cop, during the search Cruz was “constantly on the move” evading a manhunt that eventually included personnel from eight different agencies including New York State Parole, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the NYPD and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office. Members of the KPD, according to a departmental press release, spent four days in New York City conducting surveillance and seeking clues to Cruz’s whereabouts. After taking Cruz into custody on the parole warrant, KPD Detectives questioned Cruz who, they say, eventually admitted to killing Jacobs-Royer. He was then charged with second-degree murder and sent to the Ulster County Jail with no bail. Police have declined to release a motive for the killing, but one cop with knowledge of the case said that it did not appear that the pair had an intimate relationship or that drugs were involved.

“She was known to help people who were homeless or down on their luck,” said the source. “That was just in her nature.”

First imprisoned in 1986

Cruz fit both descriptions. According to parole officials, he was conditionally released from state prison on June 15 after serving 13 years of a 15-year sentence for robbery. Initially, Cruz who had few ties to Ulster County was paroled to an address in Marlboro where, according to police, his wife lives. By November, he had changed his parole address to the Budget 19, a motel that is frequently used as emergency housing by the Ulster County Department of Social Services. According to one city cop, Cruz got by on very little income, making the rounds of local soup kitchens and spending time hanging around with fellow members of the city’s homeless population.

The 49-year-old Cruz, state records show, has spent the majority of his adult life in prison starting in 1986 when he was sentenced to five to 15 years for first degree robbery. Paroled in December 1993, he was busted the same month for felony criminal sale of a controlled substance and returned to prison with a five- to 10-year sentence. Released once again in December 1998, Cruz was free for less than two years before he was arrested for first degree robbery in March 2000 and sent back to prison where he remained until June. All of Cruz’s offenses, state records show, occurred in Manhattan. Cruz also managed to rack up an array of disciplinary infractions while incarcerated, most notably a 2009 incident at Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch, in which he allegedly forged paperwork to steal money from fellow inmates accounts and have the funds sent to his wife. Cruz’s disciplinary record, just during his most recent prison stint, includes nine more infractions for offenses ranging from drug use and possession of tattooing equipment to fighting and vandalism.

Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright said Monday afternoon that Cruz could face additional charges once the case goes to a grand jury.

There are 9 comments

    1. Sherry Franko

      I think parole better get stiffer….better watchof parolees, go in pairs forget that reporting….go to parolees, drug test all the time. These paroles are more street smarter than the officers…until they get caught then its too late

  1. Kat

    Why Anita? That’s what the Kingston residents want to know. Not releasing a motive just makes me paranoid. He was staying at a motel? Not a resident? My thoughts lead to the idea; was he hired? Anita was a beautiful soul….struggling with present heartache and financial battles….why her? Why now? I listened to her pain and desperation – and now she is found dead? I think the police need to look a little further…or release a tad more information BC the killer may be jailed but the masterminds could still be at work.

  2. fappa

    Police will come to the conclusion….he needed money and there was a divorce going on…..motive yet to be found….

  3. Cindy Travis

    I think people on parole with long history should be watched and forced to report.. And required to wear leg ban to keep them from leaving area… This guy is scum… And deserves life without parole or death…

  4. Boutros

    I think that the police and other agencies did an extremely good job. Unfortunately, this proves though that our Prison Industrial Complex doesn’t do hardly anything fruitful in the area if rehabilitating hardened criminals. Therein seems to lie the failure. And it isn’t going to bring Anita back from the dead.

    Why would a 300lb man kill a 100lb woman? If he was gonna steal, couldn’t he have preserved her life? What is it about, what goes through this man’s head that he feels it is necessary to take someone’s invaluable life for a few items?

    Before you know it, he will be back out on parole. And as his life has shown us, he won’t be any more rehabilitated. If anything, as his record shows, he may be even worse.

    But, like I said, this is not only a judgement against him, it is a judgement against the Prison Industrial Complex’s inability to rehabilitate anyone. If anything, the PIC seems to just make matters worse!!

    May Anita rest in peace and may her family members find peace. May there be justice. May things get better with how we as a society rehabilitate those who fall by the way side so that there won’t be more victims of senseless crimes such as this one.

  5. Shalimar

    DSS screws up once again. Kingston is the ultimate dumping ground for all the criminals. A good woman loses her life, Kingston loses a good-natured and productive citizen, and we continue on our downward spiral. Thank you, DSS, for no supervision, no accountability, and for failing all of us. STOP BRINGING IN DANGEROUS CRIMINALS FROM OUT OF COUNTY!!!! WE HAVE TOO MANY!

  6. Blqlite

    A lot of this doesn’t add up to me as uninformed as I may be. Why would a career criminal who though charged with 1st degree robbery which could mean he had the potential to commit violence not had he commited violence (ie brandished a weapon)not show a more propensity for violence in his criminal activities other than to have fights in prison which is common if not a given? Why would he take her car which unless he is extremely cautious, would be laden with his traces and leave it so close to his last known residence? If he was so risky and this was not premeditated why not use it to get at least to NYC then dump it obscurely? Why does his hair look so very dark/dyed now in these pics compared to his mugshot? (was this a planned/masterminded act that he was prepared to commit?)I agree in many ways with the comment by KAT above except I want law enforcement to continue to do their job correctly with little revealed to the media, not just to satisfy our needs for information as bystanders and even as friends and family. If there is more to it than this felon let the guilty be found for what was done to her. Yes I knew her, and I am mad as hell. I don’t care to use this as a pulpit against the system that failed. Or for any other cause or self serving purpose. I trust the professionals working on her case to do their job right. Then justice can and will be served for Anita.

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