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Jose Ramirez found guilty on both counts of murder

Jose Ramirez talks to his attorney, Hugh Toner, moments after Judge Katherine Gorman pronounced Ramirez guilty of two counts of first degree murder Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in the deaths of his adoptive parents, Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio Ramirez Barron in October, 2018. [DAVID ZALAZNIK/JOURNAL STAR]

Jose Ramirez, 22, was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder on Wednesday. Ramirez was accused of killing both of his parents, who were Bradley employees, in late October of 2018. 

Ramirez’ bench trial began on Friday. He was accused of killing Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio Ramirez Barron throughout the night of Oct. 25 and into the morning of Oct. 26 in 2018. 

During the first day of the trial, the court reviewed prosecutors’ evidence, including items and photographs collected from the scene and two interview recordings of Jose Ramirez with Peoria County Sheriff’s Office detectives. 

“I killed them,” Ramirez said in the Oct. 29, 2018, interview with Peoria County Sheriff’s Office detectives. 

The prosecution played recordings of interviews with Ramirez on both Oct. 29 and 30. 

During the interview on the 29th, he confessed to killing his parents, but claimed he acted alone. The next day, Ramirez admitted that Matthew Roberts, 21, joined him in the attack. 

“We used a bat to beat them over their head until they were on the ground,” Ramirez said. “Then, I stabbed them in the stomach and throat.” 

Despite saying he killed his parents, Ramirez has entered a plea of not guilty. 

While alone in the interview room on Oct. 30, after Ramirez finally acknowledged Roberts participated in the act, he took a long sigh and put both hands to his head. 

“Crap,” he said. “I am so sorry Matt. I done f—ed up. Well, his mom’s gonna kill me. Might as well. It’s not like I don’t deserve it.” 

Throughout the interviews, the detectives repeatedly asked Ramirez why he committed the crime. 

“Let’s just say I don’t have a ‘why,’” Ramirez responded. 

During the first interview, in which he first stated he killed his parents, Ramirez showed little remorse for his alleged actions. 

“It’s not like I liked them, so I didn’t really care,” Ramirez said. 

When asked why he hated his parents so much, Ramirez only gave the response of, “I just do.” 

Ramirez said he initially tried to clean up the crime scene at his parents’ house, but realized he could not clean up all the blood evidence. Then, he decided to make it look like a “robbery gone wrong.” 

In the second day of the trial, the prosecution played two video recordings of friends visiting Ramirez in the two months after his arrest and called several other minor witnesses to the stand. 

Throughout the video calls, Ramirez did not appear to show much guilt for his alleged actions. 

“I know you guys probably want me to be like sad or, I’m sorry, but I’m not,” Ramirez said. 

Ramirez also told the women visiting him that even after his parents had died, he knew something had to change. 

“I knew I was leaving or they were leaving,” Ramirez said. Later, Ramirez clarified either he would’ve killed himself, left town or something would happen to his parents. 

On the third day of the bench trial, both sides gave their closing arguments. 

Prosecutors stated there was sufficient evidence to show Ramirez eventually did the night of Oct. 26, 2018.intended to kill his parents and 

“He wanted them dead and he accomplished that in late October of 2018,” David Gast, the lead prosecutor, said.

Ramirez’s defense attorney, Hugh Toner, said there was no physical evidence presented by the state that connected Ramirez to the murders. He also stated his client could not recall all the details of the crime including the color of the tarp and tent the bodies were wrapped in.

Ultimately, Judge Katherine Gorman decided the state presented enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ramirez killed both his parents in the first degree.

In the state of Illinois, each count of first degree murder carries a minimum of 20 years in prison. Ramirez will be sentenced on Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse. 

A negotiated plea hearing for Roberts, who also faces two counts of first degree murder charges, is set on Monday, Nov. 25 at 1:15 p.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse. 


The following section is the original version of this article published on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. 

Jose Ramirez, 22, was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder on Wednesday. Ramirez was accused of killing both of his parents, who were Bradley employees, in late October of 2018.

On the third day of the bench trial, both sides gave their closing arguments.

Prosecutors stated there was sufficient evidence to show Ramirez intended to kill his parents and eventually did the night of Oct. 26, 2018.

“He wanted them dead and he accomplished that in late October of 2018,” David Gast, the lead prosecutor, said.

Ramirez’s defense attorney, Hugh Toner, said there was no physical evidence presented by the state that connected Ramirez to the murders. He also stated his client could not recall all the details of the crime including the color of the tarp and tent the bodies were wrapped in.

Ultimately, Judge Katherine Gorman decided the state presented enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ramirez killed both his parents in the first degree.

In the State of Illinois, each count of first degree murder carries a minimum of 20 years in prison. Ramirez will be sentenced on Jan. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse. 

A negotiated plea hearing for Matthew Roberts, Ramirez’s alleged co-conspirator, who also faces two counts of first degree murder charges, is set on Monday, Nov. 25 at 1:15 p.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse. 

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