WOODLAND (CBS13) – A California inmate who was serving a 125-year-to-life sentence for arson and making threats to rape and kill is being released from prison because of COVID-19.

The release of “Three Striker” Santiago Cruz of Sacramento is part of the CDCR’s efforts to reduce its inmate population to keep inmates safe from the deadly coronavirus, according to a statement from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.

Since February 2020, CDCR has released approximately 10,000 inmates early.

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Cruz has been in prison since 1997. In 1994, his marriage ended after he allegedly abused his spouse — both verbally and physically, according to the DA’s office. After the divorce was finalized, his ex-wife obtained a permanent restraining order against Cruz who allegedly continued to harass her, ultimately landing him back in prison on a parole violation.

After getting out of prison, Cruz reportedly terrorized his ex-wife’s new boyfriend and his children. In one instance, Cruz allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at the home where his ex-wife and two children were sleeping. Further, during one phone call to the boyfriend’s 18-year-old daughter, Cruz allegedly threatened to rape and kill her while her father watched, then kill him, the DA’s office stated.

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The jury convicted Cruz of three counts of criminal threats, attempted arson and arson. Since Cruz had been previously convicted of two prior strikes for robbery and armed robbery, he became a “Three Striker.” On October 23, 1997, the court sentenced Cruz to 125 years-to-life.

Cruz’s ex-wife told the D.A.’s office is opposed to the decision to release the felon.

“A dangerous person is being released into society again and it’s not fair to her, her family and society in general,” Cruz’s ex-wife told the D.A.’s office. She said she feels that she’s “now the one in prison.”

Comments (4)
  1. Tom says:

    Oh wow. Newsom should invite him over for dinner.

  2. unclezip says:

    It’s all part of the plan to terrorize the populace so they will scream for help.

  3. gmarie says:

    California, as well as other states in the U.S. have draconian and extreme sentences due to the old 3 strikes law and enhancements. Santiago caused harm, for sure, but 125 years worth? I wish we could be more like Norway in terms of our prison plan, focusing on rehabilitation day one of a sentenced prisoner’s term–planning for the offender’s eventual return to society. I wish we were less revengeful, hateful, spiteful and more forgiving and loving. And I don’t mean the ex-wife here, I mean our society on the whole. They way we have dealt with crime and punishment has been expensive to states, profitable to some private corporations, and destructive to many communities, families and individuals. It’s long past time to change and do justice in a way that heals and is not antithetical to the words of the preamble of our constitution.

    1. Lou says:

      Send Santiago to gmarie’s home…

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