Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Woman's rape lie led to the murder of her lover

A San Antonio woman who authorities accused of instigating a murder by lying to her boyfriend about being raped has accepted a plea agreement in which she now faces up to eight years in prison.

Melissa Ann Ramos, 23, had been charged with manslaughter for the June 2007 shooting death of Quiznos employee Nathan Ramirez, 20, even though she was not there when he was shot outside the North Side sandwich shop.

On Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to drop the manslaughter charge in exchange for her no-contest plea to robbery. Both are second-degree felonies generally punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Her boyfriend, James “Clay” Kelly, was convicted by a jury of murder and sentenced in August by state District Judge Ron Rangel to 40 years in prison for also instigating the shooting.

A friend, John McBurnett, the alleged triggerman, was ordered by the judge to serve 40 years, and co-defendant John “Bubba” Rodriguez agreed to a 15-year sentence for providing the gun.

Ramos lied about being raped in an attempt to cover up the fact she was two-timing Kelly while he was in jail, prosecutor Miguel Najera said Wednesday. In reality, Najera told previous juries, she had been in a consensual relationship with Ramirez.

Rangel is expected to determine her robbery sentence in January. The charge involves an incident the night before the shooting in which authorities said Ramos helped her boyfriend and Rodriguez lure Ramirez to a check cashing store, where they held him up at gunpoint inside their vehicle and punched him before ordering him to crawl out the window.

Prosecutors and Ramirez's family were satisfied with the robbery plea, Najera said.

“I think it would have been a difficult case to prove up,” he said of the manslaughter charge. “But her involvement in the robbery was clear.”

Prosecutors have said they intend to ask for the full eight-year term. Defense attorney Dennis Moreno has asked the judge to consider deferred adjudication probation.