An Ulster County grand jury has handed up an indictment against a parolee accused in the murder on a Ponckhockie woman.
Audelis Cruz has been indicted on a single count of second-degree murder and one misdemeanor count of petit larceny in the death of Anita Jacobs-Royer. The March 1 indictment comes exactly one month after Cruz, a 49-year-old career criminal on parole for robbery, allegedly strangled Jacobs-Royer, 45, in her home at 56 Third Ave. Her body was discovered on Feb. 3 when police went to her home at the urging of a relative who told cops she had been unable to contact the self-employed jewelry maker.
Cruz was identified as a suspect early in the investigation. But, cops say, he fled the area and remained on the move touching off a manhunt by Kingston cops, state police and the U.S. Marshals Service. Cruz was finally tracked to a New York City subway station where he was arrested on Feb. 10. Police have so far declined to release a possible motive. Police have said that Cruz and Jacobs-Royer knew each other, but have not described the nature of their relationship. Police have also said that Cruz admitted killing Jacobs-Royer in a statement to detectives.
Cruz has been in prison for most of his adult life, with convictions for robbery and drug sales dating back to 1986. He was released from state prison on parole back in June 2012 after serving 13 years for robbery. Initially paroled to Marlboro, Cruz moved to Kingston in November where, police say, he resided at the Budget 19 motel in the Town of Ulster and took meals at local soup kitchens. Following his arrest, Cruz was sent to the county jail where, according to his attorney Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover, he was placed on round-the-clock one-on-one suicide watch. Kossover, who declined to comment on the case since he had not yet seen the evidence against his client, said he had last spoken to Cruz at a court appearance last month.
“He seemed to feel that [the suicide watch] was unnecessary,” said Kossover. “He told me that he had no intention of harming himself.”