Cruz receives life sentence for 2016 murder - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Cruz receives life sentence for 2016 murder

Melissa Dawn Cruz. Source: Forrest County Sheriff's Department Melissa Dawn Cruz. Source: Forrest County Sheriff's Department
Melissa Dawn Cruz Source: WDAM Melissa Dawn Cruz Source: WDAM
FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

After closing arguments and deliberation, a Forrest County jury delivered a guilty verdict in a 2016 murder case on Tuesday afternoon. 

Melissa Dawn Cruz was found guilty of first degree murder in relation to a 2016 incident that left one man dead after being struck by Cruz's automobile. Cruz received a life sentence following the verdict. 

The incident occurred on the night of Friday, July 1, 2016.  According to investigator Nick Calico of the Forest County Sheriff's Department, authorities received a call at around 9:50 p.m. about a "suspicious person" walking on Old Highway 49. A second call was made later about a man lying in the road bleeding near Old Highway 49. 

Deputies found Keith Phillips, 45, dead at the scene. According to Forrest County Deputy Coroner Lisa Klem, Phillips died of internal injuries, possibly caused by being struck by a vehicle. 

Deputies found Melissa Dawn Cruz, 45, at the scene, who told investigators she "hit someone" with her vehicle. Through further investigation, deputies determined Cruz intentionally hit Phillips with her vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Dept. 

Judge Jon Mark Weathers presided over the trial. 

Copyright WDAM 2017. All rights reserved. 

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Players of the Pine Belt-Matthew Ryals

  • Players of the Pine Belt-Ryals a “big” part of new era in Purvis

    Players of the Pine Belt-Ryals a “big” part of new era in Purvis

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 11:41 PM EDT2018-07-19 03:41:03 GMT

    Matthew Ryals is expected to play a big part in getting a new era of Purvis High School football off to good start. Literally.

    More >>

    Matthew Ryals is expected to play a big part in getting a new era of Purvis High School football off to good start. Literally.

    More >>
  • Hattiesburg PD proposes budget for 2018-2019

    Hattiesburg PD proposes budget for 2018-2019

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 11:14 PM EDT2018-07-19 03:14:14 GMT
    Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker is hoping the city council will approve his wish list to better the department. (Photo source: WDAM)Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker is hoping the city council will approve his wish list to better the department. (Photo source: WDAM)

    Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker is hoping the city council will approve his wish list, to better the department. WDAM spoke to Chief Parker about the beginning stages of his new proposed budget. Numbers are rolling out for the Hattiesburg Police Department's 2018-2019 fiscal year budget proposal.  WDAM caught up with Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker on the phone following his visit to city hall where he outlined that wish list for the city council. Chief Parker ...

    More >>

    Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker is hoping the city council will approve his wish list, to better the department. WDAM spoke to Chief Parker about the beginning stages of his new proposed budget. Numbers are rolling out for the Hattiesburg Police Department's 2018-2019 fiscal year budget proposal.  WDAM caught up with Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker on the phone following his visit to city hall where he outlined that wish list for the city council. Chief Parker ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly