Vienna Teen Intends to Plead Guilty

Vienna Teen Intends to Plead Guilty

Cruz Colindres accused in Fairfax man’s death.

    Cruz ColiWhen Fairfax County General District Court Judge Vanessa Jordan came to court last Thursday morning, July 6, she expected to preside over a two-hour preliminary hearing for Darren Cruz Colindres. Instead, the Vienna teen charged with killing a 20-year-old Fairfax man waived his right to that hearing.

Usually, that would mean his case would be certified to a grand jury for possible indictment. But because the defendant has indicated he intends to enter a plea in connection with this fatality, the case will go directly to Circuit Court. 

The tragedy occurred Saturday, March 25, in the Fairfax Village Apartments. That day, at 7:47 a.m., police were called to an apartment in the 10400 block of Viera Lane in Fairfax for a report of a man who’d been shot. Officers found Javier Gomez in the living room suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to his upper body. They rendered aid until fire and rescue personnel arrived. But after being taken to an area hospital, Gomez succumbed to his injuries. 

Detectives learned that Gomez and Cruz Colindres, 18, knew each other and both had reportedly been in that apartment, Friday night, March 24, into the next morning. According to police, “A family member was asleep in a bedroom when they heard a gunshot. They came out to the living room, found Gomez lying on the floor and [allegedly] saw Cruz Colindres run from the apartment.” 

Within hours after the shooting, officers and detectives from the Fugitive Track and Apprehension Unit tracked Cruz Colindres to a home in McLean and took him into custody. They charged him with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Since then, he’s been held without bond in the Adult Detention Center.

He was in court last Thursday with Public Defender Dawn Butorac. And after Judge Jordan made sure Cruz Colindres had made the decision of his own free will to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Clingan dropped the firearm charge against him.

The prosecutor also amended the charge of second-degree murder to the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter – which is still a felony. If convicted, Cruz Colindres could receive a sentence of as much as 10 years in prison. He’s currently scheduled to appear Aug. 14 in Circuit Court where, at that time, said Clingan, “He will enter a guilty plea.”