Bail set for defendant in Willmar stabbing
WILLMAR — Ex-Savor Rene Cruz, 19, was arraigned Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court on two felony assault charges in the June 26 stabbing of his stepgrandmother Maria Garcia, 64, of Willmar.
Judge David Mennis set cash bail or bond of $150,000 during Cruz’s arraignment on charges of first-degree assault – great bodily harm and second-degree assault. Cruz did not enter a plea at this time but told the judge he understood the charges.
Garcia suffered four stab wounds to the neck and shoulder and was hit in the head with a frying pan. Garcia was reported in fair condition Sunday by a spokesman at North Memorial Health Center in Robbinsdale. Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Aaron Welch said Garcia will recuperate with relatives.
Cruz did not enter a plea. Entry of a plea is deferred until an omnibus hearing, said Kandiyohi County Attorney Shane Baker.
Judge Mennis said a public defender will be appointed for Cruz. The defendant’s second appearance is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. July 14 when Cruz’s attorney will be present.
Mennis said four misdemeanor traffic violations filed in May and June against Cruz will be handled at the same as the felony cases.
Welch said the attack was unprovoked and savage. Welch said Cruz was homeless and unemployed and was a flight risk and a risk to public safety. Mennis returned Cruz to the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.
According to the criminal complaint, Garcia was called at about 7:30 a.m. June 26 by her son who told her that Cruz was in her house. Garcia had been sleeping. She got up and found Cruz and asked him why he was there. The complaint says Cruz asked to use Garcia’s phone. The complaint also states that Cruz was doing laundry.
Garcia stated she informed Cruz that he needed to ask permission first. Garcia said Cruz was upset and began stabbing her.
Garcia stated that she thought she had been stabbed with a gray, wooden-handled knife from the garage. Garcia also said there were two other people in the garage that she did not know.
Garcia made her way across the street to the home of a neighbor who called law enforcement at 8:12 a.m. The complaint states that officers found Garcia and another woman holding a bloody towel to Garcia’s neck. The complaint states that Garcia told the neighbor that she had been stabbed by her stepgrandson, Cruz.
Law enforcement entered Garcia’s resident but Cruz was not there. Law enforcement later executed a search warrant at the home of Cruz’s mother. Cruz was located in the upper apartment of the residence and taken into custody.
The complaint states that the assault appeared to have occurred in the kitchen on the main floor of the residence. The complaint states a blood trail led from the kitchen to the living room and out the front door to the neighbor’s residence. A cast iron frying pan and a knife blade were found in the kitchen.