Friday marks 20th anniversary of Rapid City manslaughter case - KOTA Territory News

Friday marks 20th anniversary of Rapid City manslaughter case


Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 murder of Debbie Jo Martines.
Martines was four months pregnant when she was shot to death at her Rapid Valley home by her boyfriend, Joaquin "Jack" Ramos.

Ramos pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.  But in 2011, former Governor Mike Rounds commuted  Ramos' sentence, making him eligible for parole.

He was denied his freedom by the parole board in November.

His next parole hearing is scheduled for July. Ramos' uncle, Angelo Cruz, plans to attend the hearing. "My motives for being there are simple: to show support for my nephew and to fight for his freedom as any loving family member would do," said Cruz.

If released, Cruz says Ramos would live in Florida and would be a productive, tax-paying, law-abiding citizen.

Cruz says many people are holding on to the a snapshot of what Ramos once was 20 years ago."They don't want to let that go. He has changed. He is not the same man he was then," said Cruz.

Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo said Martines' family has stayed strong, kind, and forgiving through the ordeal. While they are afraid of the possibility of Ramos' release, they testified that they have forgiven him.

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