December 12, 2019

Portland man gets 45 years

PORTLAND — A Portland man was sentenced Thursday to 45 years in prison for strangling his girlfriend in her Old Orchard Beach condominium nearly two years ago.

After a four-day trial last winter, a Superior Court jury found Ricardo V. Cruz, 49, guilty of murdering Jessica Woodley, 20, a former escort service employee.

Woodley died Oct. 8, 1988, and a key issue in the trial was whether she died of strangulation or a drug overdose. Justice William S. Brodrick said Thursday he was satisfied that Cruz had strangled the victim and that he could have stopped his action and let her live.

Cruz had been described at the trial as a refugee from Cuba who came to Maine in the mid-1980s and became involved in cocaine trafficking.

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