Grand Jury Declines To Re-Indict Suspects in 1996 Murder - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/29/08

Grand Jury Declines To Re-Indict Suspects in 1996 Murder

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A Lamb County grand jury says there is not enough evidence to retry two men convicted in the death of a Littlefield woman. 

Jailers released 59-year-old Jesus Ramirez and 35-year-old Alberto Sifuentes from the Lamb County jail around 5 p.m. Tuesday.  Both men were serving a life sentence for the death of Evangelina Cruz.

The mother of four was shot nine times while working at the Littlefield Jolly Roger convenience store back in 1996.  Before she died, Cruz dialed 911 and gave a description of her attackers.

Earlier this year, an appeals court ruled Ramirez and Sifuentes did not have effective counsel, and determined both cases had to be presented again. 

NewsChannel 11 spoke with Lamb County District Attorney Mark Yarbrough Tuesday evening.  He tells us part of representing the case includes taking it to grand jury. Yarbrough says the grand jury did not find Ramirez and Sifuentes innocent. He says they decided there was not enough evidence to move forward with a trial.

Yarbrough spoke with Cruz's family Tuesday, and tells NewsChannel 11 their main concern is that this case does not go cold. Yarbrough says he wants to see justice, and if new evidence comes up in the future, his office will seek another re indictment.

Defense attorney Barry McNeil called Tuesday a great day for Ramirez and Sifuentes.  He says it was sad they were prosecuted in the first place.

Yarbrough says he doesn't believe immigration authorities put any kind of hold on Ramirez and Sifuentes. He was not sure whether they would remain in the country or go to Mexico.  Both men are citizens of Mexico.  The Mexican Consulate enlisted McNeil's firm to help.

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