Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder of Ex-Girlfriend

(FLORENCE, AZ) - A man has been sentenced to natural life in prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend while she tried to call 911 for help.

On January 22nd, 2024, Pinal County Superior Court Judge Steven Fuller sentenced Ulises Cruz-Peraza, 36, to natural life in prison.

A jury found Cruz Peraza guilty of First Degree Murder, a Class One Felony, and Drive By Shooting, a Class Two Felony. The Court also found Cruz Peraza guilty of Interfering with Judicial Proceedings, a Class One Misdemeanor.

On May 1st, 2022, the Apache Junction Police Department responded to reports of a possible shooting. Dispatch also received a call that someone had been shot in a vehicle and it was later discovered one the 911 callers was the victim herself. Once officers arrived on scene, they located a woman injured inside the driver's seat of a Dodge Challenger that had several bullet holes along the driver side of the vehicle. The injured 28-year-old woman, who had been shot, was transported to the hospital where she was later pronounced deceased.

A witness told investigators she heard multiple gunshots and saw a man next to the Challenger. Police discovered the victim had filed an order of protection against Cruz Peraza, who was her ex-boyfriend.  On the 911 call, the victim mentioned "Ulises" hit her and a gunshot is heard. The victim reported she had been shot and that "he's killing me." Surveillance video showed a Kia Forte traveling near the shooting scene, and police discovered Cruz Peraza had a Kia Forte registered to him.