'Brutal Execution of Camille Garcia': Jury Sends Ramirez to Prison for Life
SAN ANGELO, TX – Andres Rios Ramirez will spend the rest of his life in prison after a Tom Green County jury worked late to reach a sentence Thursday.
Ramirez received the maximum sentence for the brutal execution of 24-year-old Camille Garcia.
Testimony showed Ramirez and Garcia were both high on meth and got into an altercation which ended when Ramirez pressed the barrel of his 9mm against the side of her head and shot her to death on a couch in his residence on Antonio St.
The trial began Thursday morning with a clearly angry Ramirez, shackled and chained, bursting through the wooden gate leading from the gallery to the defense table in courtroom C in the Tom Green County courthouse. Ramirez said nothing but the sheriff's deputy was in uniform and kept him in check.
Once District Judge Brad Goodwin opened the jury trial, Ramirez's defense attorney Kirk Hawkins told the court that Ramirez had decided not to present any witnesses in the punishment phase and was going to plead true to two enhancing paragraphs in the indictment. The enhancements were for two previous felony convictions which raise the minimum sentence for murder from 5 years to 25 years. Judge Goodwin spent a good deal of time making sure Ramirez understood that by pleading true to the two enhancements the range of punishment was from 25 to 99 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The jury was brought into the courtroom at 9:35 am. District Attorney Allison Palmer read the two enhancement paragraphs of the indictment and Ramirez pleaded guilty to both. Palmer then began the punishment phase of the trial with her opening statement telling jurors they would hear about Ramirez's prior felony convictions and his conduct while in custody. Palmer called nine Tom Green County jailers in a row who had written up Ramirez for his conduct while in the Tom Green County jail including brewing home made alcohol, stashing razors and razor blades and insubordination.
Then the victim's mother took the witness stand. Christie Urias told jurors Camille Garcia was a good mom and loved her three children enough to give them up because of her drug addiction.
"My baby girl was my best friend!" the grieving mother wailed through her tears on the witness stand. She read a prepared statement while there were tears from jurors and from family members in the gallery.
Palmer then put Garcia's father on the witness stand. Frederick Garcia said Camille was his baby; she was unique – she was a good mother. "I still can't believe this!" he shouted through tears only a father who has lost a child can know. "Cammy has an older sister who is drinking too much and calls me in the middle of the night crying. She has two younger siblings as well." "I had to tell her three children their mother was dead!"
Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Sheppard finished their presentation by calling finger print expert Robin Hooper to the stand. Hooper is a crime scene technician for the San Angelo Police Department and testified that Ramirez's fingerprints were on documents establishing he was guilty of two prior felonies.
Ramirez offered no testimony or evidence in the punishment phase of the trial.
Both sides rested their cases before the lunch break.
When the trial resumed, Judge Goodwin read the charge to the jury.
D.A. Palmer had a brief statement to the jury telling jurors they should reach a sentence that was appropriate for the crime and the offender.
Defense attorney Hawkins told jurors meth is a terrible problem in our community and that both Ramirez and Garcia were high. "I ask you not to throw his (Ramirez) life away; I ask you to sentence him to the minimum 25 years in prison. He would serve 12 and a half years before he would be eligible for parole." said Hawkins.
In her final closing statement, Palmer said she agreed with Hawkins; meth is horrible. "Meth made Camille vulnerable. Meth put her in his hands." Palmer said.
Palmer told jurors Ramirez was convicted of assaulting a woman in during a burglary. He was also convicted of assaulting a woman by choking her in 2013; and then in 2018 he brutally executed Camille Garcia.
Palmer told jurors they would set the community standard for murdering a woman in San Angelo with their sentence. "I recommend a life sentence – no less." Palmer said.
With that, the jury retired to the jury room to deliberate Ramirez's fate at 2:38 p.m.
At 4 p.m. the jury asked to see all the evidence presented Thursday about Ramirez's criminal history.
An unidentified man with tear drop tattoos by both eyes who was singled out by Southside gang member Bobby Banda following his testimony on Wednesday stopped me in the courthouse late Thursday before the sentence was reached. He threatened me for my reporting on San Angelo Live!. "So you think I'm a gang member????" he asked menacingly. I didn't say anything at first. "You think I'm a gang member?" he said through his gold grilled teeth. "I report what I see." I said. He asked again in a more threatening manner, "You think I'm a gang member??" I responded, "I report what I see." and I walked out of the courthouse with a member of courthouse security.
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