The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

October 23, 2013

Judge: Man behind bars means kids safer

MERCER — A prison sentence of longer than 8 1/2 to 20 years was warranted for Armando Cruz, his sentencing judge said Tuesday.

However, since Cruz was already sentenced to 35 years in federal prison, Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts went along with the recommended sentence offered by prosecutors and the defense.

“If you had not had the federal sentence, I would not have approved the plea in this matter,” said Yeatts, referring to Cruz’s plea to attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of an 11- or 12-year-old girl.

Prosecutors could have asked for a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, but decided not to in return for the plea. The sentence of 8 1/2 to 20 years was above the guidelines range of a minimum 5 to 6 1/2 years.

Yeatts stacked the sentences so Cruz, formerly of Brandy Springs Apartments, Mercer, will serve his state sentence after he completes the federal sentence on two counts of producing child pornography.

“In your case, it’s a relief to know for the next 43è years our children are safe,” Yeatts said.

Technically, Cruz could get out of federal prison four or five years early through a good-time program, but it’s also possible the state Board of Probation and Parole could make him serve all 20 years of his state sentence.

Given Cruz’s age, 45, he might never again see the sun without prison bars obscuring his view.

Yeatts said Cruz appears to have no feelings “at all” about what his crimes have done to his victims.

Cruz made no statement at his sentence hearing. However, he acknowledged to authorities that he is addicted to pornography. He started viewing adult pornography, eventually moving to bestiality and child pornography.

Cruz has never been treated for addiction and had no dealings with the criminal justice system before federal authorities investigating what turned out to be a nationwide child pornography network identified him.

Cruz’s victim reported having nightmares and flashbacks as a result of his abuse, and Yeatts said people like Cruz are the reason parents fear for the safety of their children.

“You are the nightmare,” Yeatts said.

Although Cruz was accused of drugging his victims and threatening to kill their parents if they told anyone about his activities, he denied both allegations Tuesday.

Cruz will have to register for life as a sexual offender under Megan’s Law, and Yeatts deemed him a sexually violent predator, making Cruz’s reporting and counseling requirements more stringent.

An associate of Cruz’s, Earl D. Warner, 55, of Mercer, has been charged by federal officials with making child porn. He has asked a judge to suppress statements he made to a state police investigator and an FBI agent, arguing that he was tricked into coming to the interview and was intimidated by officials during the interrogation.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 19, 2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Man admits having child porn

    A Mercer man accused of soliciting and downloading photographs of nude teenage girls pleaded guilty April 8 to sexual abuse of children for possessing child pornography.

    April 19, 2014

  • Police getting new tool to fight crime

    Sharon police working at crime scenes will be putting a powerful new investigative tool to work as soon as next month.

    April 19, 2014

  • Soap box derby finds new home

    The Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids soap box derby for special-needs kids is moving to Sharpsville.

    April 19, 2014

  • News briefs from April 18, 2014

    ‘Nonspecific threat’ prompts evacuation

    Supreme Court refuses to hear couple’s appeal

    Lung Association offering free radon test kits

    April 18, 2014

  • Man admits to choking; rape case is dropped

    A Greenville man on Thursday pleaded down a rape case to simple assault and continued to deny that he committed any sexual crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge issues tabletop ads injunction against couple

    A judge recently handed down an injunction prohibiting a Sharon man, his wife and two companies associated with the wife from working in the tabletop advertising business within 100 miles of Sharon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Tech waste eyed for new contact

    The current Hermitage solid waste contract was designed to increase recycling while reducing the amount of garbage placed at the curb, and it has lived up to its promise.

    April 18, 2014

  • WaterFire Rekindled

    WaterFire Sharon has chosen themes for its festivals to be held on three Saturdays in downtown Sharon. “Elements” will be the theme July 19, “Origins” for Aug. 23 and “Motion” for the Sept. 27 celebration.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from April 17, 2014

    Man arrested for running from accident scene

    UPMC, Southwest eyeing security at hospital

    Crashes cause diversion of Interstate 80 traffic

    Court supports prison term in chase case

    Woman gets 5-10 years in crash that killed officer

    April 17, 2014

  • Officials pledge support to sewer project

    Publicly declaring their intention to donate county land to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority, Commissioners Matt McConnell and John Lechner said there’s no need for Commissioner Brian Beader to worry about the loss of the sewer project at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange.

    April 17, 2014

  • Griswold Avenue fire Neighbors tried to save victim

    As flames and thick smoke poured out of a Sharon house Tuesday evening, neighbors rallied to try and save the man who lived there alone.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman nabbed, sister sought in assault

    Southwest Mercer County Regional police have arrested a Hermitage woman for breaking into a home in Farrell and beating a woman and are seeking the alleged assailant’s sister.

    April 16, 2014

  • Despite good deeds, man going back to prison

    Linda K. Kretzer had nothing but praise for Raymond C. McKelvey.

    April 16, 2014

  • 15-year-old legal battle returning to county court

    State Supreme Court has let stand a Superior Court decision sending a landmark medical malpractice case back to Mercer County Common Pleas Court.

    April 16, 2014