A day after hearing a 13-year-old boy describe how Cedric Ricks grabbed kitchen knives and stabbed the boy’s mother and brother to death, a Tarrant County jury took less than an hour Wednesday to convict Ricks of capital murder.
The punishment phase of the trial began immediately.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Ricks for killing his girlfriend, Roxann Sanchez, 30, and her 8-year-old son, Anthony Figueroa, on May 1, 2013. He also stabbed Marcus Figueroa, the son who testified Tuesday.
Marcus said that after Ricks had stabbed him repeatedly, he made a gurgling noise that Anthony made as he died, which prompted Ricks to stop stabbing him.
“You will never meet a braver individual than Marcus Figueroa,” said prosecutor Robert Huseman. “He sees his mother was stabbed multiple times. He makes the death gurgle that his brother makes so the defendant will think he is dead.”
In his closing argument, Ricks’ attorney, Bill Ray, said Marcus’ testimony did not fit the facts.
Ray argued that Ricks was involved in a knife fight with Sanchez and her sons. Forensic experts testified that blood on four knives had DNA from the people in the household, and Ray speculated that there could be a fifth knife that was never located.
“The story is that Ricks came in and picked up four knives,” Ray said. “Ricks is not the superman they are playing him out to be, and he certainly does not have more than two hands.
“Knife fights don’t work that way. Anthony Figueroa had a knife in his hand. Maybe he was trying to defend his mother.”
After the jury returned the guilty verdict, Sanchez’s mother, Diana McGrew, testified that Ricks beat up her daughter in November, months before he killed her. Ricks and Sanchez argued after Ricks threw their infant son across the bed, McGrew said.
Because of her injuries, “she couldn’t turn her neck,” McGrew said. “She had a scar on the right side of her neck where she was attacked. There was also some bruising and an injury to her head where he banged her head on the door.”
McGrew said she took Sanchez to Bedford police where she filed a complaint, and Ricks was arrested. That assault case is still pending, according to Tarrant County district clerk records.
The child that Sanchez had with Ricks is living with McGrew, and she and her husband plan to adopt him, she said. Marcus Figueroa is living with his father.
“It has torn the family apart,” McGrew testified. “We’re missing two pieces. We were so close. She was my daughter and my best friend. We discussed everything together. I think about her all the time.”
The punishment phase of the trial is scheduled to continue Thursday in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s court.