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July 13, 2014 10:15 PM

Family Trying To Help Prisoner Receive Parole

Springfield, SD

A man who has been in prison for over 20 years is trying for his freedom for the second time.

In 1994, Joaquin Ramos pled guilty to first degree manslaughter for killing his pregnant girlfriend. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.  During his final term in 2010, former Governor Mike Rounds commuted his sentence to 150 years, making him eligible for parole in 2013. After speaking with the victim's family, Rounds recommended that Ramos should be denied parole.

Even though he has spent the last few decades behind bars, Joaquin "Jack" Ramos' family wants to see him free.

"Joaquin Ramos is worthy of parole release," uncle Angelo Cruz said.

The prisoner was denied his first attempt at parole last year, and this year, Ramos is getting help from his son that he didn't speak with for 24 years.

"I love my father today," son Christopher Lauricella said.

Leland Steva: Did you ever think you would ever say that?
Lauricella: No. No.

Lauricella last spoke to his father in person when he was four. He says he hated his father for over twenty years. Like his father, he battled drug and alcohol abuse. He started communicating with his father over the phone two years ago. On Friday, he met him face-to-face. 

"There was so many times in my life where I pictured me and him seeing each other and me just going after him. It was absolutely nothing like that. I saw him, he cried, I cried, and we held each other for a good five minutes," Lauricella said.

Not everybody wants to see him free. On a Facebook page dedicated to the victim Debbie Jo Martines, her sister published her letter to the Parole Office asking that Ramos never be released.

Part of the letter reads, "Jack gets to walk around freely in prison - my sister will never walk again, Jack gets to have a relationship with his family, my sister does not."

The family understands that what Ramos did was horrible, but they feel he has done enough behind bars to be let free.

"I'd like to have my father back. Unfortunately they don't have that chance but I believe everybody deserves a second chance," Lauricella said.

Ramos' second parole hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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