RAPID VALLEY, S.D. (KELO) — A Rapid City crime that made headlines more than two decades ago is back in the news tonight.
In the winter of 1994, Joaquin Ramos shot and killed his fiancé, Debbie Martines, in the back of the her neck as her children watched. She was a few months pregnant.
Decades later, Debbie’s sisters still struggle with their loss. It’s especially hard on days like today, when they need to testify in front of the parole board to keep Ramos in prison.
“Reliving the horrors and the torture that happened before she died and when she died, it doesn’t get easier. It will never get easier,” Debbie’s sister, Donna Cassidy, said.
Angela Kennecke: Why do you think he should not be let out of prison?
“He’s an abuser. He will never change, he will never change,” Ramos’ ex-wife Angela Hanson said.
When Ramos pleaded guilty to manslaughter, the judge sentenced him to life in prison without the chance of parole.
In 2010, then-Governor Mike Rounds commuted the sentence to 150 years, making Ramos eligible for parole.
The problem is, Rounds never heard from the family of Debbie Martines, and has since said he no longer supports Ramos getting out of prison.
In tonight’s KELOLAND News Investigation, we’ll listen in on today’s parole hearing and take a closer look at some problems that Martines’ family says the state needs to fix.