Winchester, Va. - Winchester mother Sherry Lee Cruz, who faces first-degree murder charges, has been behind bars since she was arrested in September. As the case against her moves forward in court, Cruz's attorneys are hoping certain evidence will be thrown out.
As we've reported, on September 17, 2013 a Winchester grand jury indicted Cruz on first-degree murder and arson charges in connection to the Winchester house fire that claimed the life of her two-year old son Christian Cruz.
The boarded up house that lies on the 300 block on the corner of North Kent Street and Fairfax Lane is all that's left behind from the devastating blaze. Police say Cruz was the only adult home at the time of the fire. Investigators were able to determine Cruz started the blaze that placed all of her children in danger, and ultimately claimed the life of her toddler.
Her lawyers tell WHAG they want the judge to take out statements she made during a police interrogation. They say she was coerced by investigators during the conversation.
"The first motion that we filed is a motion to suppress testimony or statements she gave to law enforcement during an interview process. The bases of that is that we believe her 5th Amendment rights were violated,” said Christopher Collins, one of Cruz’s defense attorneys.
They also want the case moved out of Winchester, Virginia.
"Due to the high publicity of this case within the Winchester region, it was actually the number one news story for the Winchester Star in the city. We believe the jury may be tainted,” Collins said.
If that motion is granted, the attorneys and judge would stay the same, but the jury would have to come from outside of Winchester's jurisdiction.
"The last case that I’m aware of that did anything like this, they actually bused people up from Harrisonburg," said Collins.
Cruz's lawyers say they also got approval from the court to hire a private investigator, but they say none of these motions are a result of their private investigation.
“This has nothing to do with that private investigator. This was all evidence that was presented to us already by law enforcement. There's a video of her statements to police," said Collins.
In the mean time, Cruz’s other four children remain in foster care.
Cruz is currently being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. Winchester court officials say if convicted, Cruz could face up to life in prison. The hearing for the defense's filed motions is set for January 24. Cruz's trial is set to begin on March 12, 2014.