Opening statements begin in murder trial for Sandra Dales

Sandra Dales is on trial accused of killing her husband Eddie Cruey, and burying his body.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Sandra Dales is on trial accused of killing her husband Eddie Cruey, and burying his body.

The state’s efforts are to show Dales and Cruey were married but like any couple, had their fair share of disagreements.

Cruey stayed in contact with his family even though they live in Virginia. They talk three to five times a week and expected to hear from him during the holidays.

But when they didn’t hear from him for Thanksgiving in 2019 and into the weeks after, the state says they got worried and came down to Augusta in December only to hear that Dales didn’t know where he was and that he left with money, clothes a sleeping bag and didn’t come back.

Cruey’s father, Jerry was the first to take the stand. Stating the last time he saw or heard from his son was Nov. 19 of 2019, when Eddie called to thank him for birthday money.

Dales told Jerry she had just received her first Social Security check, and then the phone went dead. Moments later, a text came in from Dales saying she and Cruey would call back but they never did.

The next time they spoke to her was when they came down in December and Dales didn’t seem phased about Cruey’s disappearance. Her story was still that he was missing, and he left to go see friends, but Jerry says it didn’t add up.

“We talked several times a week, and he always told me his plans,” said Jerry.

Next, it was James Whittington who grew up with the couple and has been a close friend for decades.

Whittington says he did hear them argue occasionally but says he never saw it become physical. He thought Cruey was missing and never saw it coming when Dales confessed to him.

“She looked at me, and she said ‘I killed Eddie.’ I had no words at the moment I was shocked,” he said.

Whittington says he knew he had to contact law enforcement; leading to the next witness, the GBI medical examiner who performed Cruey’s autopsy.

The state showed the jury photos of Cruey’s body. Dales glanced up to acknowledge the images but never showed emotion as they went over the seven lacerations to his head, multiple skull, and rib fractures.

After lunch, Investigator Sylvester took the stand, followed by a crime scene expert who told the jury a soil probe led them to the body.

They put it in the ground to test the soil to see if it was disturbed or not and when they pulled the stick back up, substances that were not soil were on the bottom.

“That is the bottom of the soil sample we collected. It actually has some unknown white creamy substance and some hair attached to it,” said Lauren Weber, crime scene examiner expert, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

That’s when they found Cruey buried in a 3 ft 9-inch deep hole in his own yard. The state rested its case just before 3 p.m.

When asked if Dales would be taking the stand Thursday, she told Judge Stone she needed more time to decide.

She has until 9 a.m. when the court is back in session to decide. If she does testify, she will be questioned by the defense and cross-examined by the state.