Cartagena waives jury trial in daughter’s murder - The Buffalo News

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Cartagena waives jury trial in daughter’s murder

Candace Croff Cartagena, accused of suffocating her 8-year-old daughter four years ago in her East Amherst home, affirmed her decision to waive a jury trial in her murder case during a pretrial conference Friday in Erie County Court.

Cartagena, 35, goes on trial Monday before Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. She is charged in the death of Bianca Cartagena, whose body was found in her mother’s bedroom Nov. 30, 2010, while the mother was found moaning and mumbling in a backyard shed.

Cartagena, who was going through a divorce, bankruptcy and foreclosure, told police she had tried to kill herself the day before by taking six different medications.

She had been living alone in the home after her husband, Ruben Cartagena, moved out earlier that year and her daughter went to live with the defendant’s parents in August 2010 after the defendant was hospitalized in Bry-Lin.

She has been in custody since she was indicted in May 2013.

During Friday’s court appearance, Cartagena confirmed for the judge that she had signed the jury-trial waiver April 29.

The judge told her that if she doesn’t attend the trial, it will go forward without her. He asked her if she intended to be in the courtroom. She said she did.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Thomas M. Finnerty, Kristen St. Mary and Ashley M. Morgan.

The defense attorney is Joseph J. Terranova, who took over the case earlier this year after Cartagena’s original attorney, John R. Nuchereno, withdrew to receive inpatient treatment for a pre-existing medical issue.


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