A man who killed his pregnant girlfriend 20 years ago went before of a member of the state Parole Board for a second time today. Joaquin Ramos was originally sentenced to life in prison, but in 2010, former Governor Mike Rounds commuted his sentence to 150 years, making Ramos eligible for parole.
Joaquin Ramos pled his case before State Parole Board member Dave Nelson today. He wasn't alone, people on both sides of the case offered reasons why Ramos should and shouldn't be set free.
"He was a monster. He did evil things, there's no denying it. However, that's in the past and the past has to remain in the past," Ramos' uncle Angelo Cruz said.
Ramos supporters insist he is not the same man he was twenty years ago. Pointing to his clean record in prison, including helping other inmates deal with their own anger issues. Debbie Jo Martines' family argued against allowing Ramos to bring his case before the full parole board.
"I'm glad he's doing well in prison. I think he should do well in prison, and it's got to feel good to him that he does well in prison. But that doesn't change the facts, and the facts are just because he does well in prison doesn't mean he'll do well in society," Martines' sister Donna Cassidy said.
In the end, Martines' family was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing her convicted killer would stay behind bars.
"The decision was the right one, the only one. Not to promote him to the next board," Cassidy said.
Yet, one person in the room was not breathing any easier after today decision, Jacky McLain spoke about the day she watched her mother be killed.
"Just the feeling that I got back to when I was 8 years old. I felt like I was a little kid again in fear of this man," McLain said.
Ramos can apply for parole again in 8 months. At today's hearing Dave Nelson told the Martines' family that because Ramos is eligible for parole, he most likely will be granted parole at some point, but not today.