Denison man pleads to 45 years in love triangle killing

GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) -- A man Denison police say shot another man several times earlier this year pleaded guilty to murder Thursday and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Reynaldo Cruz

Officers said 46-year-old Reynaldo Cruz shot 44-year-old Daniel Hernandez near West Monterey and Armstrong on April 29, leaving him dead.

Prosecutors said Hernandez was dating Cruz's estranged wife.

Gary Simmons and Jaymes Stumbaugh live right across the street from where it happened.

"Love is a powerful thing, you know," Simmons said.

"From what I've heard it was a pretty dumb reason to shoot somebody, but it is what it is," Stumbaugh said.

When Denison officers arrived, they found Hernandez deceased from multiple gunshot wounds.

"My girlfriend woke me up like early in the morning and then asked me if there was gunshots. And I mean we heard probably like 6 or 7 gunshots," Stumbaugh said.

"I seen the lady across the street. She was standing beside the car and she was crying. And she was talking on the phone to somebody speaking in Spanish," Simmons said.

Simmons thought he heard knocks at his door, but said they could have been gunshots.

When he went outside…

"I see this guy layin on the ground, and he wasn't moving," Simmons said.

About the same time, Denison PD dispatch received a call from the family of suspect Cruz indicating he shot the victim and was in a vehicle fleeing to Mexico.

Prosecutors said Denison officers who responded to the Cruz’s house recovered a 9-millimeter gun, which had been discarded near some trash cans.

Family members of Cruz advised they convinced Cruz not to flee to Mexico, but to pull over in Sherman.

Sherman Patrol Officers arrested Cruz at Walmart and transported him to the Denison Police Department.

During an interview, Cruz made a full confession to Detective John Watt.

After Cruz admitted to the crime...

"Detective John Watt asked him, would you do it again? And he said that he would," District Attorney Brett Smith said.

The case was prosecuted by Smith. Cruz was represented by Grayson County attorney Rick Dunn.

"This was a vengeance killing. There's no other way to put it. He had absolutely no remorse for his victim," Smith said.

He said it was a lover's triangle.

Tina Cline lives across the street. She said she would see Hernandez and the woman sitting in their front yard together.

Cline said he was quiet and never bothered anyone.

"So it was kind of odd, you know, just out of the middle of nowhere," Cline said.

Simmons and Cline said they haven't seen the woman since.

"No one won in this situation, no one won," Cline said.

Cruz will be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence.

Smith said Cruz is a citizen of Mexico, but not of the U.S.

He will be deported if he makes parole.