SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A man from Springfield sentenced to life in prison for killing his estranged wife and setting her house on fire, has had his conviction upheld by the state’s highest court.
The Supreme Judicial Court denied an appeal by Benjamin Sanchez to get a new trial, or to reduce his conviction to second-degree murder or manslaughter in the killing of Ana Cruz. The defense argued that the evidence presented in the case was not sufficient to produce a verdict of guilty in a first-degree murder case.
The court disagreed with this argument, and dismissed the defense suggestion that they did not have the chance to confront a DNA analyst who was unavailable to testify in the case.
Sanchez was convicted of Cruz’s murder in 2012, nearly three years after the crime took place. On July 12, 2009, firefighters had discovered Cruz inside her burning Bay Street home, she was taken to the hospital, but died. It was determined that she had been strangled and stabbed multiple times.
The couple was separated and had been in the process of getting a divorce at the time of the killing.