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Murder trial of Waukegan man to begin

Ricardo Cruz

Ricardo Cruz

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Updated: January 6, 2013 9:49AM

Adam Harris, 22, was enjoying a Whopper and fries in a Waukegan Burger King parking lot when he was shot in the head. The Zion man had stopped at the fast-food eatery with three friends after a party. They wanted a snack, and unfortunately for Harris, it was his last. Assistant State’s Attorneys Tim Niehus and Ryan Koehl said that Ricardo Cruz, 26, of Waukegan was the one who fired at Harris.

Cruz is charged with first-degree murder. Jurors were selected Monday, and attorneys made their opening statements and started presenting evidence before Circuit Judge James Booras Tuesday.

“It was a senseless crime,” Niehus said.

Harris and his three friends went to the Burger King located at 3123 N. Lewis Ave., Waukegan, on June 20, 2007, according to officials.

Harris and his friends saw a purple vehicle approaching and waved, Niehus said. Cruz was allegedly driving the purple car and pulled the vehicle up parallel to where Harris and his friends were.

“The driver of the car (Cruz) was shooting gang slogans at them, challenging them,” Niehus said. “(Harris and his friends) started taunting the gang-bangers. They were not gang-bangers, they were not throwing (gang) signs. As a result, (Cruz) started firing.”

Cruz was also out with three friends and was returning from a party, Niehus said. Cruz and his friends were associated with the Disciples street gang, Niehus said.

Two of the three people who rode with Cruz will testify during the trial. The three people who were in the car with Harris, two more eyewitnesses who were in the area at the time of the shooting, police officers and a medical examiner are also expected to testify during the trial, Niehus said.

“This case is a tragedy because Adam Harris is dead,” defense attorney Gregory Nikitas told the jury.

However, witnesses will provide “ample testimony” that Harris was shot by someone with long hair, Nikitas said. Cruz has short, closely cropped hair, Nikitas said. He has “never” changed his hairstyle, Nikitas said.

“Mr. Cruz is not guilty of shooting the gun that shot and killed Mr. Harris,” Nikitas said.

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