Bouncer convicted of manslaughter for killing Centereach man

Bouncer convicted of manslaughter for killing Centereach man

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Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney announced on April 24 that a jury found David Cruz, 32, of Medford, guilty of Manslaughter in the First  Degree, for the 2022 beating death of Jake Scott, 32, of Centereach.  

“This defendant’s job as a bouncer was to protect patrons of the establishment he worked for, and  to remove anyone who posed a threat to customers, but it turned out that the only threat to the  public on the night of this victim’s tragic death, was the defendant himself,” said District Attorney  Tierney. “This entire situation could have been de-escalated, but the defendant could not control  his temper and beat Jake Scott so badly, that he needed to be placed into a coma and later died due  to the severity of his injuries. I am thankful that the jury paid careful attention to this case and  found the defendant guilty of this violent and senseless crime.”  

The evidence at trial established that on August 21, 2022, Cruz was working as a bouncer at Tailgaters Bar in Holbrook when he got into a verbal dispute with Scott. According to witness  testimony, Scott called Cruz a “weirdo” earlier in the evening, which may have been the catalyst  for the argument. 

At approximately 2:45 a.m., Cruz went outside of the bar and engaged in a further verbal exchange  with Scott. During that exchange, Cruz repeatedly attempted to draw Scott out of view of the bar’s  surveillance camera. After failing to lure Scott out of the camera’s view, Cruz walked to his vehicle  and returned to the front area of the bar a short time later. Once there, Cruz dragged a chair over to the bar’s surveillance camera, stood on the chair, took off his shirt, and then covered the security camera.  

Apparently unaware that a security camera from a nearby business was filming, Cruz, who stands  6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 270 pounds, immediately began to assault Scott after he covered  the bar’s security camera. The video footage depicted Cruz delivering his first punch while Scott was starting to get up from his seat as Cruz came towards him. Scott then fell onto the cement  sidewalk and remained there as Cruz got on top of him, delivering more punches to Scott’s head.  When Scott lay motionless and unconscious on the ground, Cruz grabbed Scott’s shirt and pulled  him up, yelling at Scott to get up. When Scott did not respond, Cruz dropped him back to the  ground and delivered a final blow to Scott’s head before fleeing the scene. Cruz surrendered to  police three days later, on August 24, 2022.  

Scott was taken to Stony Brook Hospital where he was placed into a medically induced coma.  While at the hospital, doctors determined Scott suffered a brain bleed, a complete skull fracture,  and a traumatic brain injury. Scott remained in the hospital for 11 days before he succumbed to his  injuries and passed away.  

On April 24, Cruz was found guilty after a jury trial heard before Supreme Court Justice, the  Honorable John B. Collins, for the crime of Manslaughter in the First Degree, a Class B violent  felony. Cruz is due back in court on May 25, 2023 for sentencing, and faces up to 25 years in prison.