[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- ARIZ.
j_sommer at gmx.net
Fri Mar 4 10:21:51 CST 2005
death penalty news
March 5, 2005
Mom avoids death penalty in son's murder
A jury on Thursday spared the life of a mother they'd found guilty of
murdering her 19-month-old child.
Candy Ramirez will face Judge Warren Granville of Maricopa County Superior
Court again on April 8 to learn if she will spend her life in prison or if
she will be eligible for parole on the murder count after 35 years.
Jurors returned the verdict less than 45 minutes after they began
deliberating, following a morning of statements from Ramirez's family.
"I was surprised they came back so quickly with life," said her attorney,
"I think she was relieved," he said of his client. "She thought for sure
she was going to receive the death penalty."
Ramirez, 31, will also be sentenced on one count of child abuse, which
carries a sentence of 10 to 24 years in prison, which would have to be
served after her murder sentence. Under Arizona law, once a jury decides
against the death penalty, which happens infrequently, the judge must
decide whether to impose a sentence of natural life in prison with no
chance of release or parole, or life in prison with the possibility of
parole after 35 years. But given the child-abuse sentence, the earliest
Ramirez could get out of prison is in 45 years.
The trial dealt with charges of first-degree "felony" murder and two counts
of child abuse in the March 2001 death of her son, Alex. Prosecutors
theorized that Ramirez had thrown the child into his crib at her Phoenix
home and then failed to take him to the hospital. Ramirez has yet to stand
trial on three other counts of child abuse that were separated from the
Adam Tarango, the father of another of Ramirez's children, pleaded guilty
to manslaughter in the death and testified against Ramirez in exchange for
a 5½-year prison sentence. Their daughter, who was present at the
sentencing Thursday, also testified against her mother.
Felony murder means that the death occurred during the commission of
another felony, in this case either of the two child-abuse counts. And
although the jury on Feb. 16 found Ramirez guilty of the murder and of
withholding medical attention, it could not agree that Ramirez actually
threw the child into his crib.
Neither jurors, nor Ramirez's relatives would comment.
(source: The Arizona Republic)
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