An Innocence Project investigation led to the arrest of a suspect in three cold cases and could lead to a new trail for a convicted man.
Police arrested Pedro Miranda, 51, a registered sex offender from New Britain, Friday, at his home. He is charged in the deaths of Rosa Valentin, 16, Mayra Cruz, 13, and Carmen Lopez in the 1980s, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Miguel Roman is serving a 60-year sentence for Lopez’s death.
Her relatives last heard from her on Jan. 2, 1988. She was found strangled on Jan. 5, 1988, in an apartment on Nelton Court in Hartford.
The Cold Case Unit started investigating in July 2008 after the Connecticut Innocence Project of the State of Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services brought new information about the murders to Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford.
A petition for a new trial was filed on Dec. 2, on Roman’s behalf and is pending in the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Hartford. The State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Hartford is reviewing the petition.
Rosa Valentin, 16, was last seen alive in Miranda’s car on July 26, 1986. Her body has never been found and she is presumed dead, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice. Miranda was charged wit one count of murder in her death.
Mayra Cruz, 13, was reported missing when she did not return home from school in Hartford on Oct. 8, 1987. Her body was found in a wooded area in East Windsor on Nov. 8, 1987. Miranda is charged with one count each of capital felony, felony murder, murder and kidnapping in the first degree in connection with her death.
Miranda is charged with capital felony, felony murder and murder. He is being held on $7.5 million bond and will be arraigned Monday in Hartford Superior Court.
He was convicted in the May 29, 1998, sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman in West Hartford and was required to register on the State of Connecticut Sex Offender Registry.
The investigation is continuing and anyone with information about the homicides is asked to call the Cold Case Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney at (860) 548-0606, 1-866-623-8058, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at Cold Case Unit, P.O. Box 962, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.