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ONLY ON 3: Man framed for murder talks

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Man framed for murder talks
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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A man wrongfully charged with murder was finally released from jail last week after investigators figured out he was innocent. ONLY ON 3, we talked with the man who paid the price for law enforcement's mistake.

Hernan Cruz spent 15 months behind bars at the Bladen County Jail. At the time he had no idea why he was locked up, but soon found out he was being accused of a murder he did not commit.

Cruz, who is in this country illegally, is a victim of what he calls questionable police work. Back in April 2009 he was framed for the death of a man, after he walked up to an acquaintance's home, which was the scene of deadly beating involving a baseball bat. Cruz had no idea what he walked in to. Cruz says as he walked up to the home several law enforcement vehicles pulled up. He asked his the man whose house it was what was going on. The man told Cruz a body was found near the road. Cruz says the man then went up to the investigators and spoke to them, before he knew it, Cruz was being questioned.

"They saw Mr. Cruz, approached him," Cruz's attorney Sam Randall said. "They thought he had what looked like blood on his pants. In his broken English he told them, 'No. It's BBQ sauce.' Later it was found out that it wasn't blood."

Cruz was arrested and taken to the Bladen County Jail. He asked why he was in hand-cuffs, but was not given an answer. He wouldn't find out the reason until a magistrate set his bond for $600,000. Cruz asked again why he was arrested, the magistrate told him for hitting and killing a man with a bat. Cruz would then spend the next 15 months in jail. He was released last week after investigators finally realized that the man who framed him was the real killer.

"He spent 15 months in jail for a crime he did not commit, and in my opinion it's based on a lack of investigation," Randall said. "They did the easy thing, and a lot of times people think of he's arrested he must have done something and that's not true."

Cruz says during this whole experience he was not afraid, knowing he was innocent, and knowing that God would make things right. He now hopes the state will come though and also make things right.

"It's not fair what they did to me," Cruz said in his native Spanish.

Randall will say little about what's next. He does admit, though, he wants compensation for his client's time behind bars.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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I watched the interview

I saw a man who had little if any knoweldge of the English language.

First question, was he interviewed, when first arrested, by anyone with a competent knowledge of the Spanish language?

Second question, was he a legally documented visitor to our Country?

Legal?

No Tom, he was here illegally. And one of the other posters apparently looked up his rap sheet and he has been sited for various crimes such as DUI and driving with no license.

Went Back &

reread the interview.

If they knew he was here illegally, why did they release him. The law states the INS folks have 48 hours to pick him up and escort him to the border.

Why was that not done?

Now, knowing he has an attorney, why are they not knocking on the attorney's door with the paperwork to send him south?

DA's Office

So, isn't the DA supposed to review the evidence in a case? What about a probable cause hearing? Oh, right, it is routine not to have those.......see what happens when there is NO probable cause? An innocent man sits in jail for 15 months....

are you kidding

good going rookies puting inocent people in jail cause the criminal said the other guy is guilty. As kids we played cops and robbers and we always knew trust no one until you get the facts.

innocent?????

Ok, so I have seen a couple comments about this man being innocent.
Are you kidding me???? He is here illegally. Does anyone know what the word illegal means anymore??? It definitely does NOT mean innocent. Ship this man back to Mexico (or wherever he is from).

Innocent...Give me a break!!!!

Fifteen months. Fifteen

Fifteen months. Fifteen months! What happened to his probable cause hearing? How was he allowed to spend all that time in jail for a crime HE DIDN'T commit? Oh, that is right...doesn't take much to bring charges against someone before the grand jury. From the aspect of a struggling economy...How much did that AND will that screw up cost Bladen County? Regardless, God bless all that have been wronged in this case and others. May justice be swiftly served since nothing else has gone right.
My question is....what was the reason noted by the D.A.'s office for the dismissal in this case? I caught some of the news and it appeared to me that the actual dismissal sheet differed from the statement given off camera by Mr. Rex Gore, District Attorney. I guess you are allowed to make any excuse you want when you are the district attorney, nobody to call you on it....but the MEDIA. Great work media, as for me and mine...we thank you!

illegal?

if he didn't belong here in the first place, I hope his compensation will be a one way ticket back to his country of origin. If he is a citizen (or has a green card) I sincerely hope they make an honest attempt to compensate him for the lost time.