Woman Who Murdered Ex-Husband Granted Parole After 18 Years

Manuel+Reyes+Boquiren+and+family

Manuel Reyes Boquiren and family

By Jiselle Boquiren-Wong, CONTRIBUTOR
On June 1, 2002, my grandfather was stabbed 48 times by his ex-wife in his own house with their 8-year-old son upstairs watching cartoons. Manuel Reyes Boquiren and his ex-wife, Loida Cruz, had been divorced for about five years, but having a child together made it difficult for my grandfather to call their relationship quits. For the sake of their child, my grandfather took Cruz back into his life, despite the continuous physical and mental abuse done by Cruz.
“One morning, Cruz was angry that my dad wanted to throw a party for my grandmother because she was jealous of everyone in my family,” Jennifer Soto, the daughter of Boquiren from a previous marriage, told me. Soto added that “various coworkers and family members attested that Cruz has threatened to kill herself, their child and my father if he divorced Cruz in the past.” Unfortunately, the particular argument about my grandfather planning a birthday party for his mother initiated Cruz to follow through with her previous verbal threats. Cruz stabbed my grandfather not once or twice, but 48 times with his very own kitchen knife.
My mother and the rest of the Boquiren family remain haunted by the murder that happened in the house they all once lived in. My mother vividly remembers her conversation with her aunt. “I remember hearing ‘your daddy’s no more’ on the phone. Loida killed him. I fell to my knees because I didn’t know how to handle this. I didn’t understand,” Soto said, crying as she told the story.
Cruz pleaded not guilty and hired an attorney to defend her case. She claimed she was a battered wife, but there was never any evidence of a violent side of my grandfather. On the contrary, tape recordings and photos that my grandfather hid in his house were found during the investigation and proved that Cruz was mentally and physically abusive on multiple occasions. Once the domestic violence case was shut down, she asserted a mental health defense. John Misfud, trial attorney at the time, researched the case for multiple weeks before the trial and attempted to convict Cruz of 1st-degree murder. After an 8-hour trial, Cruz was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced 16 years to life.
However, the jury decided Cruz’s actions were impulsive, thus not considered premeditated. Under the California Penal Code 187, “second-degree murder is also willful [like first-degree murder] but is not deliberate and premeditated… a defendant faces 15 years-to-life in the state prison. However, there are some circumstances that can increase the potential sentence.” In Cruz’s case, an “additional year was added because the murder weapon was a knife,” John Misfud, trial Attorney at the time, said in an interview. “Inmates in California serving indeterminate life sentences, such as the 15-years-to-life or 25-years-to-life become eligible for parole consideration once they have served a certain minimum number of years of their sentence,” added Misfud.
Prior to the February 20, 2020 hearing, assistant district attorney for parole hearings, Jill Klinge, said that “49% of female inmates are being paroled to women who have not lived an entrenched criminal lifestyle.” As anticipated, Cruz was granted parole. According to Klinge, “there is no current reason that Cruz proved to be dangerous to the community today based on her age, behavior in the institution and psychological tests.”
The Boquiren family, devastated by the parole results, reminds them of the eerie behavior Cruz displayed in the past. Maureen Bautista, my aunt, and niece of my grandfather, specifically remembers when Cruz called my grandfather at least 20 times when he was at work.
“Then she started to rock back and forth in the corner of the living room waiting for him to call back,” Bautista said in an interview. “When I lived at their house, I was barely home because I was scared. I didn’t feel safe.” My aunt and mother decided to move out of their house in 1995 because they could not deal with the stress and pressure.
This year, my mother decided to share some of the evidence my grandfather left to prove Cruz tried killing him in the past. Among the evidence was an incident report that was presented to my grandfather’s divorce lawyer. I found this event the most disturbing. My grandfather wrote, “It was Labor Day weekend in 1995, the defendant noticed the sweatpants I was wearing. She asked how I got the pants, and I responded by telling her that they were from Jennifer. As soon as I told her that they were from Jennifer, she yelled, shouted, and cursed at me… She put down our son, went to the kitchen, and grabbed a knife. While I was holding our son, she attempted to stab me. Luckily, I was fast enough to get away and pick up a sofa pillow. She stopped trying to attack me… I was awake that whole night.”
In June 2020, Cruz will be released and will likely reside with her family in Alameda. My family’s last hope is to get The final effort is Governor Newsom overturn Cruz’s parole. As a community, the Boquiren family is gathering letters addressed to Governor Newsom stating why Cruz should be denied parole. These letters can be sent directly to [email protected] or [email protected] and will collectively be sent to district attorney Jill Klinge to send to the governor’s parole lawyers and department.
Assistant District Attorney Jill Klinge recently brought up to the Boquiren family that Cruz’s release date could possibly be even earlier than June, due to the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. The release of over 3,500 prisoners is to protect those who work and live in prisons from the virus. “Governor Newsom is planning to release inmates that committed violent crimes as soon as possible,” added Klinge. Additionally, various Bay Area residents convicted of second-degree murder have already been released according to LA Times and The Guardian.
Unprecedented times call for extraordinary measures. It is still possible for Governor Newsom to deny parole, as he denied Leslie Van Houten in 2019, a follower of Charles Manson. Help the Boquiren family, friends and the community of Northern California remain safe from a person who intentionally took someone’s life. Men can be a victim of domestic violence as well. Justice for my grandfather, Manuel Reyes Boquiren, will not be served until Loida Cruz remains in prison for the rest of her life.