Dalton Man Sentenced for Raping Estranged Wife

Antonio Cruz.jpg

A 43-year-old Dalton man will spend several years in prison after being convicted of raping his estranged wife in her home.

A jury of 7 men and 5 women deliberated for 3 hours before reaching their unanimous guilty verdict for Antonio Cruz back on November 20th.

Cruz was convicted of rape, aggravated sodomy, burglary in the first degree, family violence aggravated assault, terroristic threats and false imprisonment.

Cruz committed his crimes shortly after midnight on September 19th, 2014, when he used a key he took from one his his children's school backpacks and used it to break into his estranged wife's apartment. The victim had left Cruz a few months earlier and had obtained a protective order from the Whitfield County Superior Court over the summer alleging prior violence and harassment. Once inside the apartment, Cruz went upstairs to the bedroom where he threatened to kill the victim. She got him to come downstairs, however Cruz again became angry, attacking her in the living room and raping her on the couch.

After the rape, Cruz returned to his Barbara Avenue residence where their three minor children were spending the night. Officers of the Dalton Police Department confronted him there after the rape was reported but Cruz refused to come out, leading to a two-hour standoff. Police officers were able to resolve the situation without anyone getting hurt.

Cruz initially denied having sex with the victim but after his story evolved multiple times, and after DNA evidence proved he was lying, he eventually presented a consent defense at trial.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris ordered that Cruz serve a life sentence on the rape charge with the first 30 years to be served in confinement and without parole.

As to the aggravated sodomy, life with the first 25 years in confinement and without parole, consecutive to the rape charge.

On remaining charges, 20 years for burglary and aggravated assault, 10 years for false imprisonment and 5 years for terroristic threats.

As conditions of any future probation, Cruz will have to register as a sex offender and will be prohibited from having contact with the victim.

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