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Cruz cleared of first-degree murder charges

Ricardo Cruz 21 Waukegan arrested charged with one count First Degree Murder fatal shooting June 20 2007 Burger King Lewis

Ricardo Cruz, 21, of Waukegan, arrested and charged with one count of First Degree Murder in the fatal shooting on June 20, 2007, at the Burger King on Lewis Ave. in Waukegan. Cruz was aquitted. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 8, 2013 6:23AM

A Lake County jury spent about an hour deliberating before they cleared Waukegan man Ricardo Cruz, 26, of first-degree murder charges.

Cruz was on trial this week for the shooting death of Adam Harris, 22, of Zion. Prosecutors had called several eyewitnesses and law enforcement officials to testify.

The jury came back with its verdict Wednesday.

“The jurors had a difficult job and they were incredibly attentive and followed the law. They should be proud of their service and proud that they made a difficult and correct decision,” Gregory Nikitas, the attorney for Cruz, said.

Harris was a passenger in a vehicle parked at the Waukegan Burger King. He was shot in the head June 20, 2007. Prosecutors Ryan Koehl and Tim Niehus had said Harris was shot in a gang-related shooting.

Nikitas had said his client was innocent and that witnesses identified someone with long hair as the shooter. Cruz has short hair.

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