The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday August 11th

Frank Cruz of Burlington sentenced for 2005-06 Carrboro rapes

A Burlington man was sentenced to more than a century in prison after an Orange County jury returned 20 guilty verdicts against him this week.

Frank Cruz was sentenced to a minimum of 138 years in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for a string of crimes he committed almost a decade ago.

This is one of the longest sentences in Orange County history, according to a press release from Jim Woodall, district attorney for Chatham and Orange Counties.

Cruz’s maximum sentence is 179 years, the press release states.

Cruz was sentenced on March 4 by Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour at the end of the trial that began the last week of February.

After less than two hours of deliberating, the jury found him guilty on 20 charges including rape, kidnapping and burglary.

He was charged with crimes surrounding three different rapes of two different women, which occurred in 2005 and 2006 in Carrboro.

Patrols at the time responded to the crimes and processed the scenes immediately.

The two victims were sent to the hospital to be treated for injuries and examined for evidence.

The evidence collected from the victims in these cases did not match any of the DNA in the system at the time of the attacks.

“The cases initially went cold because they didn’t have a profile to compare the evidence to,” said Byron Beasley, an assistant district attorney for Orange County and the prosecutor for the case.

Cruz voluntarily provided a sample of his DNA to Alamance County officials to prove his innocence in a breaking and entering case in 2010.

Investigators put the DNA into the system and it matched the evidence from the 2005 and 2006 rape cases.

“Law enforcement and the analysts at the SBI crime lab don’t get enough credit, generally speaking,” Beasley said. “I’m thankful for whoever was responsible for breaking the case on behalf of the victims.”

Beasley said he hopes the guilty verdicts and the sentencing might help the victims heal.

“I’m relieved for the victims, they finally have a measure of closure and they showed an amazing amount of courage,” Beasley said.

Captain Chris Atack, spokesman for the Carrboro Police Department, said he feels a sense of accomplishment about the case, but his heart goes out to the two women victimized in the attacks.

“This man was a danger to the community that it’s our job to protect,” he said.

“Just like Judge Baddour said in the case, the important thing is that this man is in jail now and he won’t be able to get out and hurt anyone.”

Atack said Cruz has been going through the court system since 2010, so finally having a verdict will be a relief to the community.

city@dailytarheel.com

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