Augusta wife won’t testify in trial over husband’s killing

The state pushed to show that Dales and Cruey were married but like any couple, had their fair share of disagreements.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 1:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The trial for Sandra Dales continues.

She is accused of killing her husband, Eddie Cruey, and burying his body in the yard of their home in 2019.

Opening statements started Wednesday. The state pushed to show that Dales and Cruey were married but like any couple, had their fair share of disagreements.

The defense rested its case just before 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Dales will not take the stand to testify about what happened that day. She had a deadline of 9 a.m. Thursday to make her decision, but her lawyers asked for an extension.

Eleven witnesses took to the stand on Wednesday. From neighbors to family, even dispatch.

The defense spent the day trying to convince the jury Dales is a battered woman who suffered from a cycle of domestic violence in her relationship with her husband.

Neighbors across the street from the couple testified that Cruey did not like Dales to have a phone.

“I personally saw three phones broke. I don’t know how many were broken. I saw him throw one at the end of the driveway, bust one in the street and I saw him throw one against the house,” said Linda Chesser, neighbor.

Linda’s husband, Troy Chesser, is also an ex-boyfriend of Dales from high school, and he said when Cruey didn’t have a way to phone for help she would go to his house, but he was not aware the last time she came to the house, she had hit Cruey in the head with a hammer.

“I told them they needed to stay separated because I didn’t know exactly what happened,” said Troy.

Dales’ sister, Suzanne Broome, says throughout the eight years they were together Cruey was threatening and verbally abusive.

“Eddie would walk around with a machete because it would piss Sandra off and threaten to kill the dogs and chop their heads off,” she said.

And her daughter testified she did see Cruey hurt her mother one afternoon.

“There was an argument, and all I remember is hearing the carport door slam, and they are in the kitchen, and I see Eddie hold my mom by the throat and held his fist up,” said Ashley Himebaugh, daughter.

The last two witnesses to take the stand were medical experts who say Dales does suffer from PTSD and battered person syndrome, often times this does make them act when they are not aware.

What’s happened so far in trial

Cruey’s father, Jerry was the first to take the stand Wednesday. 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 Georgia Bureau of Investigation 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 with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

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