HOUSTON – A Houston man who fled to Honduras after shooting and killing his friend in 2018 has been sentenced to 50 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
Christopher Joseph Cruz, 26, pleaded guilty to murder and opted to have a judge decide his punishment after a Thursday hearing. State District Judge Frank Aguilar sentenced Cruz to 50 years in prison for the murder of Raymond James Lindgren, a married father of two, on Jan. 24, 2018.
“This was a premeditated murder, and the defendant thought he could lie his way out of any responsibility,” Ogg said. “Now he will spend decades in prison for the decisions he made.”
Lindgren and another man were working on a car outside Lindgren’s apartment complex north of Bissonnet in the Braeburn area of southwest Houston.
A witness testified that Cruz and Lindgren were arguing over the phone, and then Cruz drove to the Lindgren’s apartment complex. When Cruz arrived, he opened fire, shooting several times, killing Lindgren and wounding the other man. That man jumped in his truck to drive away, and Cruz shot out the windows of the truck, trying to kill him as well.
Cruz left the scene and fled to Honduras. After a year, Cruz turned himself in and was deported back to the United States.
In court, Cruz claimed that he had killed Lindgren in sudden passion, over the argument the two men had. The judge disagreed.
According to a news release, Cruz must serve at least half of the 50-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Assistant District Attorney Alycia Harvey, who is a division chief at the DA’s Office, said Cruz acted like he was the victim when it was actually he who did the attacking.
“If this defendant had one more bullet, he would have killed the second man as well, and then it would have been a double murder,” Harvey said. “His actions that day were serious, and his sentence reflects how serious it was.”