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Anita Jacobs-Royer murder: Audelis Cruz indicted in Kingston jewelry maker's death

Audelis Cruz, 49, of Kingston, is charged with

Audelis Cruz, 49, of Kingston, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Anita Jacobs-Royer, 45, of Kingston, right. (Feb. 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Kingston Police Department

An ex-con accused in the strangling death of a Kingston jewelry maker was indicted Friday, officials said.

Audelis Cruz, 49, a former New York City resident who was living at the Budget 19 motel in Kingston, was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and petty larceny in the slaying of Anita Jacobs-Royer last month in her Kingston home, Ulster County District Attorney D. Holley Carnright said.

The petty larceny charge covers the theft of some of her personal property, Carnright said. He declined on Friday to say what items were taken.

Cruz remains at the Ulster County Jail in Kingston without bail. Carnright said he will be arraigned on the murder and larceny charges next week.

Authorities say Cruz strangled Jacobs-Royer, 45, at her Third Avenue home Feb. 1. They found the body on the afternoon of Feb. 3 after a worried relative who hadn't heard from her in days asked them to check on her, police said. An autopsy Feb. 4 determined she had been strangled.

Cruz and Jacobs-Royer knew each other, Carnright has said, but he has declined to comment on the nature of their relationship. "The word 'relationship' covers wide ground," Carnright told Newsday Westchester on Friday. "I don't have any knowledge of any close personal or sexual relationship between them. I just know that they knew each other."

Carnright has said investigators have determined a motive but declined Friday to discuss it.

Cruz faces a 25 years to life sentence if convicted of the murder, Carnright said.

The slaying triggered an intense manhunt by Kingston police and a host of other law enforcement agencies. Investigators traced Cruz to New York City and spent four days there looking for him, finally arresting him Feb. 10 on a Manhattan subway platform.

Under questioning by detectives, Cruz admitted to the killing, police said, although he pleaded not guilty at his initial arraignment on Feb. 13.

Cruz was released from prison in June 2012 and was on parole after serving 11 years in state prison for first-degree robbery, according to a state database. He served seven years in state prison from 1986 to 1993 on a previous first-degree robbery charge, according to the database.

At the time of her death, Jacobs-Royer was in the process of divorcing her husband, Scott Royer of Saugerties, an employee of Kingston City Schools, authorities have said.

Chief Assistant District Attorney John Tobin is prosecuting. Cruz is represented by Ulster County Public Defender Andrew Kossover, who did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.

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