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Trial begins for accused murderer Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez, left, sits with defense attorneys on Friday, Nov. 15, at the opening of his murder trial. He’s accused of killing his parents, Bradley University professor Susan Brill de Ramirez and Bradley IT staffer Antonio Ramirez Barron, last fall. [Andy Kravetz / pool photograph]

UPDATE: Jose Ramirez found guilty on both counts of murder

The bench trial of Jose Ramirez, 22, began Friday morning at the Peoria County Courthouse. Ramirez is charged with two counts of first degree murder for the killing of his parents, Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio Ramirez Barron on the night of Oct. 25, 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. 

Ramirez is accused of killing his parents, both of whom were Bradley employees. The prosecution played recordings of interviews with Ramirez on both Oct. 29 and 30.

During the interview on the 29th, he admitted to killing his parents, but claimed he acted alone. The next day, Ramirez admitted 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. 

Ramirez said he did not know why Matthew Roberts agreed to help him. 

“Honestly, I have no idea,” Ramirez said in the interview recording. “I asked him and he said, ‘yes.’” 

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.”

When asked if he has had suicidal thoughts, Ramirez told detectives, “literally every second.”

Throughout the interviews, the detectives repeatedly asked Ramirez why he did it.

“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.”

Ramirez said he was not worried about getting caught.

“I didn’t want to get caught, but if I get caught, it doesn’t matter,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez’s public defense attorneys Hugh Toner said there was “nothing unexpected” after the trial recessed for the day. 

The trial will resume on Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Peoria County Courthouse.

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