Tyrone Delgado found guilty of first degree murder, ex-wife speaks out

Tyrone Delgado
Tyrone Delgado
Ana Cruz
Ana Cruz

WILMINGTON -- In a Wilmington courtroom, a jury found Tyrone Delgado guilty of first degree murder and first degree burglary.

The verdict was delivered just before 3:00pm Friday afternoon, after several hours of deliberations.

Delgado has been sentenced to life without parole.  But, Delgado's attorneys said they will appeal the decision.

District Attorney Ben David said Delgado's verdict was a long time coming.

"They removed a very dangerous individual off the streets.  Jon and I have tried over 100 jury trials and many murderers.  We put men on death row and I regard Tyrone Delgado as the worst defendant I have ever prosecuted, and I don't say that lightly," said David.

As Delgado left the courtroom, he turned to the mother of his children and said: "Let my kids write me.  I did not kill nobody."

Regardless of Delgado's plea to his ex-wife, Ana Cruz says she's elated with the verdict. She feels this verdict will bring her inner peace and finally put an end to a horriffic chapter in her life.

"I feel that it's justice for Melissa and closure for myself and all the other survivors from his past," said Cruz.

Delgado was standing trial in New Hanover County for killing FBI secretary Melissa Mooney in 1999.  Prosecutors said he broke into Mooney's home in Castle Hayne and strangled her to death.

Thursday, closing arguments lasted several hours and included some yelling and a video presentation that brought many to tears.

Delgado is accused of killing FBI Secretary Melissa Mooney in 1999.  Prosecutors said he broke into Mooney's home in Castle Hayne and strangled her to death.

Delgado's attorney, public defender Jennifer Harjo, called Jason Thomas to the stand, because he knew Melissa Mooney's ex husband.

Earlier in June, a woman told the jury that Delgado attacked her at a convenience store on Castle Hayne Road in 2002.

She said Delgado restrained her and made sexual advances.

Delgado's defense team questioned her credibility, saying she had never told police about the sexual nature of the attack.  She had only disclosed that Delgado had assaulted her.

More than two weeks into the trial, jurors watched a home video of Tyrone Delgado.  According to the prosecution, it shows that Delgado is dangerous.

The video shows Delgado and his children outside their Castle Hayne home.

The prosecution wanted to show the jury a portion of the video where Delgado practices several karate moves.

The prosecution believes the video proves Delgado was strong enough to kick in the door to Mooney's home.

The defense argued to have the entire video shown, to put it into context.  Ultimately, the judge agreed with the defense.

Many different hairs were uncovered at the crime scene, along with a hair from an African-American.

District Attorney Ben David believes that's Delgado's hair, but the defense disagrees.  The defense went on to say there is other evidence that suggests Delgado is not guilty.

Harjo argues the DNA evidence found at that murder scene proves nothing.

On the second day of the trial, May 19, prosecutors called investigators to the stand and went over key evidence in the murder.

The opening arguments and testimony began on May 16.

Reported by Joe Keiley, Kelli O'Hara, and Max Winitz