Death penalty to be sought in 1980 Adams County murders

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 12, 2016 1:24 PM

(Gettysburg) -- Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against a man charged in the murders of a mother and her teenage daughter during a burglary in Adams County more than 3.5 decades ago.

Fifty-five-year-old Abraham Cruz Jr. is charged with criminal homicide, conspiracy, burglary and arson in the August 1980 slayings of 17-year-old Deborah Patterson and her mother Nancy Patterson.

Authorities said two men broke into the home outside Gettysburg and set fire to the kitchen, then shot the two victims as they tried to flee.

Nancy Patterson's husband was also shot, but survived.

Two other children escaped to a neighbor's house, according to police. 

Erasmo Cruz, Cruz's uncle, pleaded guilty earlier to third-degree homicide.

Another man pleaded guilty to a burglary conspiracy charge.  

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