Parole Board Rules Against Joaquin Ramos - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Parole Board Rules Against Joaquin Ramos

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On Tuesday, the South Dakota Board of Paroles and Pardons denied parole for a 45-year-old man named Joaquin Ramos.

20 years ago, Ramos shot and killed his pregnant fiancee, Debbie Martines, at a home in Rapid Valley.

Ramos argued for his freedom....and Martines' sisters argued to keep him in prison.

Cameras were permitted during Ramos' parole hearing; pictures only, no sound.

The case was laid out; how Ramos killed his pregnant fiancee two decades ago and how, in the two decades since, his record as an inmate has been nearly blemish free.

Angelo Cruz is Ramos' uncle. "He's got a stellar history. 6 minor infractions in 20 years and 5 months."

And his record as a prisoner does hold some weight.

Parole Board member Dave Nelson says while Ramos was not paroled this time around, there's a chance he could be freed someday.

But for the family of Debbie Martines, the brutal nature of the crime can never be erased and they add while Ramos may be doing well in prison, it's not the same as being in the real world.

Donna Cassidy is Debbie Martines' sister. "Jack is in a controlled environment. He's not in a situation where he's around the things that are broken about him....which is manipulating and controlling and beating women and children."

Ramos had been serving a life term for the killing, but his sentence was commuted to 150 years by former governor Mike Rounds back in 2010; and the commutation makes Ramos eligible for parole.

"They're angry, they're hostithat'shats understandable and I have to accept that." Ramos' uncle Angelo Cruz tells us his nephew is not the man he was when he pulled the trigger of a gun back in 1994.

This parole denial does not end this story.

Ramos will be eligible again in eight months, if he chooses to try again, which his uncle hopes he does. "My nephew may decide...he may not want to do it for another year or two. I will leave that up to him."

If Ramos tries again, Angelo Cruz will be back hoping for a better outcome.

And Donna Cassidy will be back to argue ramos needs to stay right where he is. "We will be here until we are not breathing any longer. There is no way that we wont come back and do the right thing."

Ramos has a son who he has not seen since the child was 4 years old.

His son made the trip to springfield today to attend the parole hearing and tells us he is glad to have the opportunity to get to know his father, even if he is behind bars.


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