Jury selection begins in Ruiz murder case

OBSERVER File Photo Jury selection in the Rebecca Ruiz murder case is underway in Chautauqua County Court.

MAYVILLE — Jury selection in the Rebecca Ruiz murder case commenced Tuesday in Chautauqua County Court as six jurors were seated.

Eighty-one potential jurors were called with 69 entering the selection process. Thirty-five individuals will return to the courthouse today at 9:30 a.m. as six more jurors and four alternates need to be selected.

The 29-year-old Dunkirk woman is facing second-degree murder, a class A felony, second-degree criminal charges of possession of a weapon, a class C felony, and tampering with evidence, a class E felony.

Charges stem from a July 6, 2017 incident in which Ruiz, who was 28 at the time, allegedly shot and killed her boyfriend, 21-year old Julian Duman, at her home on 141 Lake Shore Drive E. in Dunkirk.

Duman was reportedly found laying unresponsive in the yard outside the residence. He was transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

When police arrived at the scene on the evening of July 6, Ruiz was heard saying that, “I shot him! Oh my god, is he dead? I didn’t know it was Julian, I thought it was Waldo,” or allegedly Walter Duprey. She went on to say that she heard someone jiggle the door and subsequently shot through the door.

While the gun was never recovered, Ruiz said she used a .22. Ruiz said she threw the weapon and believed someone grabbed it.

No official report was made public verifying if the .22 mentioned by Ruiz was a rifle or a handgun, or if it was the weapon used in the shooting at all. But Dunkirk Police believe the shooting was an isolated incident and not a random act.

Ruiz pleaded not guilty during her July 7 arraignment. A grand jury indicted her in early August of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence. Ruiz is represented by attorney Anthony Pendergrass.

With jury selection in motion, the case is expected to be heard sometime early next week. Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley is presiding over the case.