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Jurors deliberate in 1980 slayings of mother, teen daughter

June 5, 2019

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jurors are deliberating the fate of a man charged in the killings of a mother and her teenage daughter in central Pennsylvania almost four decades ago.

Fifty-eight-year-old Abraham Cruz Jr. was charged in 1985 with first- and second-degree murder, arson and burglary in the August 1980 slayings.

Adams County prosecutors say 41-year-old Nancy Patterson and her 17-year-old daughter, Deborah, were shot to death as they tried to escape the Freedom Township home, which had been set afire. A son of the adult victim was charged in the case but acquitted in 1981.

Cruz testified Tuesday that he didn’t kill the victim, didn’t know either of them and had never been to the home.

Cruz’s uncle, Erasmo, was sentenced to 16 to 40 years after pleading guilty to third-degree murder.

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