Florida trucker gets 55 years for partner's Indiana slaying

Posted at 1:12 PM, Jul 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 13:12:34-04

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Florida truck driver has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for fatally stabbing his driving partner while the man was behind the wheel of their truck along an eastern Indiana highway.

Pavel Nery-Gonzalez, 50, rested his head in his hands Wednesday as a Wayne County judge sentenced him in the 2019 killing of Angel Cruz, who died at a Dayton, Ohio, hospital after being stabbed in the neck and shoulder area.

A jury convicted Nery-Gonzalez in May of murder, the (Richmond) Palladium-Item reported.

Nery-Gonzalez's attorney, Andrew Maternowski, had sought the minimum 45-year sentence for his client, while prosecutors asked for 58 years. Maternowski said Cruz provoked his client by attacking him and that he had acted in self-defense.

Prosecutor Mike Shipman said it was the prosecution’s belief that it was not self-defense and that Nery-Gonzalez killed Cruz while Cruz sat in the driver’s seat operating the tractor-trailer.

According to a probable cause affidavit, after officers found the men's truck pulled to the side of eastbound Interstate 70 on Aug. 16, 2019, Nery-Gonzalez stepped from the vehicle, handed an officer a bloody knife and said, “I stabbed him,” the affidavit states.

Nery-Gonzalez and Cruz, both of Miami, Florida, had been driving together for about three months for a Florida trucking company, according to the affidavit. The fatal stabbing occurred as they were hauling produce from California to New York.