Shooter gets 10-year prison term
Penny Mann make it clear to Mitchell Ramon that he had caused her great pain and suffering.
“You killed my brother,” she told Ramon at his sentencing hearing Tuesday in Yamhill County Circuit Court.
“You stood over him, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I can’t imagine how afraid my brother was.”
Mann, sister of Dennis Ross, slain in June 2010, addressed the court over speaker phone. She began by asking Ramon if he could hear her and received an acknowledgment that he could.
Judge John Collins sentenced Ramon to 120 months in prison, complete 36 months of post-prison supervision and pay $1,500 in restitution. Ramon will receive credit for time served, about 14 months, but won’t quality for any further reduction through the state’s Alternative Incarceration Program.
Ramon, a 28-year-old Arizona resident originally facing a murder charge, pleaded no contest last week to one count each of criminally negligent homicide, a Class B felony, and unlawful use of a weapon, a Class C felony.
The deal was struck by Yamhill County Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan and Ramon’s court-appointed attorney, Elizabeth Baker of Eugene, at the conclusion of a settlement conference conducted under the auspices of Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Eric Bergstrom.
The plea averted a four to six-week trial scheduled Tuesday morning with Collins presiding.
A no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea. It represents an admission the prosecution had enough evidence to convict.
Collins asked Eagan to justify reduction of the murder charge to criminally negligent homicide.
Had the case gone to trial, Eagan said, the prosecution feared key witnesses might have disappeared scarce or shaded the truth. That posed a big risk, she said.
Ramon was apprehended in Arizona. He fought extradition, but was returned to Yamhill County.
Eagan gave this account of what transpired:
Ramon arrived in Oregon in May 2010 with a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun. He sold it initially to raise money but later bought it back.
Between 5:01 and 5:16 a.m. on Saturday June 17, 2010, Ramon fired a fatal shot into Ross at his residence, at 1627 N.W. Sixth St. He flew from Portland to Las Vegas later that same day and eventually made his way on back to Arizona.
Police, called to the scene on a welfare check initiated by neighbors, discovered the body two days later. Factors that alarmed neighbors included his dog running loose in front of the house.
“Some unlawful drug activity had been going on, and so many people had been in and out of that house,” Eagan said.
She said the heavy traffic complicated the investigation.
Eagan said tips led police to Ramon. They used DNA, fingerprints, a spent shell casing and the bullet removed from the body to cement their case.
More than a year passed before the U.S. Marshals Service served Ramon with a Yamhill County arrest warrant. He denied knowing anything about the shooting, but Yamhill County authorities presented enough evidence for his extradition.
Ross lived alone. He had not worked in recent years and largely kept to himself, according to neighbors.
His family was represented by Mann and another sister, Deanne Comfort. While Mann spoke by phone, Comfort participated in person.
Mann said she harbored feelings of both anger and sorrow for Ramon. She said she wished he were going to prison for a longer period of time.
“You didn’t even allow his family to see him one last time, to say good-bye,” she said. “All I got were ashes.”
Comfort told Ramon he had made a series of poor choices. She said she wanted the evil in him to die so he could bring some joy to the world someday.
In a highly unusual development, she asked to speak to him personally. The request was approved by sheriff’s deputy Buddy White, a member of the court security staff.
She walked up to him, took his hand and shared a few words.
When Ramon’s turn came, he declined the opportunity to address the court, as did his attorney, other than to indicate her approval of the plea terms.