Here's a dispatch from reporter Ann Givens in the Mineola courtroom where Leonardo Valdez-Cruz is on trial for the March 2009 murder of his estranged girlfriend, Jo’Anna Bird.
Jo’Anna Bird’s mother sobbed as photographs of her daughter’s dead body were shown Thursday in the courtroom where the man accused of killing Bird is on trial for first-degree murder.
The photos flicked on a video screen, and the voice of the man accused of killing Bird, Leonardo Valdez-Cruz, rang out on the audio system.
“I’m going to torture you, ----,” Valdez-Cruz said in a taped phone conversation with Bird in the fall of 2008.
Prosecutor Madeline Singas, in her closing argument, told jurors: “These are specific, pointed threats about what he was going to do to her that he ultimately did to her.”
“This is him knowing he’s being recorded. This is him holding back.”
Valdez-Cruz, 24, of Westbury, has pleaded not guilty to killing Bird.
Singas was to complete her closing argument Thursday afternoon, and then Nassau County Judge John Kase will instruct the jury on the law.
Jurors may begin deliberations Thursday.
Sharon Dorsett, mother of Jo'Anna Bird, reacts after seeing photos shown during closing arguments in the murder trial of the Leonardo Valdez-Cruz in the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola. (Photo by Howard Schnapp / April 29, 2010)