This morning in the Hampshire Superior Court, Nerkin Omar Morales, 22, of Northampton was arraigned on a charge of Murder and other charges in connection with the death of Daniel Cruz on March 10, 2018 in Northampton. He was ordered held without bail by the Honorable Richard Carey. He was also ordered to have no contact with his co-defendants, the witnesses in the case, and the family of Mr. Cruz. His case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 12, 2019.
In addition to the Murder charge, Morales faces charges of Burning Personal Property, Withholding Evidence from Criminal Proceeding, Conspiracy (two counts), Improper Disposition of a Human Body, Intimidation of a Witness, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm as an Armed Career Criminal, Use of a Firearm in a Felony and Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Dwelling.
A Hampshire Grand Jury, on Nov. 26, 2018, issued a total of 51 indictments against eight individuals for their alleged involvement in the murder of Cruz, 44, of Northampton, the concealment of his murder, and/or the subsequent police and grand jury investigation. The Court later issued warrants for the arrests of Morales; Pedro J. Soto-Rodriguez, 21, of Northampton, Mercedes N. Diaz-Wright, 22, of Northampton, Alondra E. Gil, 23, of Northampton, Chelsea T. Rodriguez, 22, of Northampton, Kimberly A. Perez, 26, of Springfield, and Matthew M. Ross, 24, of Northampton, all of whom were indicted on a charge of Accessory After the Fact to Murder and other charges, as well as Joshua T. Ealy, 20, of Northampton, on a charge of Perjury related to the grand jury investigation of the case.
Diaz-Wright, Perez and Ross were arraigned in the Hampshire Superior Court on Nov. 27. Soto-Rodriguez is scheduled to be arraigned in the Hampshire Superior Court on Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. An arraignment date for Ealy, who is in custody, has not yet been scheduled. Gil and Rodriguez remain at large.