Monday, January 16, 2012

Woman accused of instigating murder by telling rape lie gets 8 years

A follow-up to our story  here.  A judge ordered an eight-year prison sentence Tuesday for a San Antonio woman who authorities said instigated the murder of a boyfriend by lying to another boyfriend about a rape that never occurred.

Melissa Ann Ramos, 23, was originally charged with manslaughter in the death of Nathan Ramirez, who was 20 when he was gunned down in June 2007 behind the North Side sandwich shop where he worked.

But as part of a plea agreement reached in November, she pleaded no contest to robbery.

Ramos is the third of four defendants to be sentenced by state District Judge Ron Rangel in the case. Alleged gunman John McBurnett got a 40-year term after a jury found him guilty of murder in September 2010. Another jury convicted Ramos' other boyfriend, James “Clay” Kelly, of murder for prompting the shooting and the judge also gave him 40 years.

Prosecutors Miguel Najera and Ashley Botard declined to comment on the case because the final defendant, John “Bubba” Rodriguez, who testified against his co-defendants, hasn't been sentenced.Prosecutors have said Ramos lied to Kelly about being raped because she was cheating on him while he was serving time in jail.

Ramos, who wasn't present at the shooting, expressed remorse Tuesday as she asked the judge for deferred adjudication probation. Defense attorney Dennis Moreno described his client's actions as a youthful mistake that spun out of hand.

Ramirez's sister, however, wasn't as forgiving as she read aloud a victim impact statement after the sentence was announced. Of all the defendants, Ramos is the one that is hated the most, Melissa Krueger said.

“My brother's death lies in the palm of your hand,” she said. “You are a coward. Because you wanted to be promiscuous and cheat, my brother had to pay.”

Robbery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than eight years as part of the plea deal.