Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Bev Pechan
For the second time in eight months, convicted killer Joaquin Ramos has appeared before the court of paroles and pardons requesting to be freed from his life sentence without parole for the murders of his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child. And for the second time the parole board at Mike Durfee Prison in Springfield denied Ramos that chance after more than two hours of testimonies for and against his release.
Ramos was 25 when he returned home to find his girlfriend, Debbie Martines, gone and picked up a pistol to go looking for her and a neighbor during a fit of anger. Martines, in the meantime, had gone looking for Ramos, who was late coming home. Her friend was driving. Returning home simultaneously, all met in Martines’ yard and a struggle ensued as Martines tried to dissuade Ramos from attacking the other party, who was a male. During the confrontation, Ramos bean to hit Martines with his pistol and the gun discharged, killing her and their unborn child. Martines’ other three children watched as their mother crumpled to the ground in their front yard.
Ramos’ uncle, Angelo Cruz, who lives in Florida, made several calls to the Prevailer prior to last week’s hearing, saying that while he was not close to his nephew in the past, he began to have contact with him in recent years and found him to be a changed person. Cruz told the Prevailer that Ramos grew up in a household where his father abused his mother and the mother acted with complacency. Ramos, he said, had anger control issues where women were concerned and that he considered him to have become abusive as a result.
But now Cruz said he believes Ramos has truly become a changed man and is considered a model prisoner after undergoing counseling and anger management classes in prison. Reports by some prison staff confirmed that opinion, resulting in the request for a pardon which was laid on then-Gov. Mike Rounds’ desk. Rounds was quoted as saying he basically ignored the request until shortly before leaving office, when he suggested a commutation of Ramos’ sentence allowing him to become eligible for parole every eight months.
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