Poor guy was just looking for a better life in America.
A man charged in connection with the rape and fatal bludgeoning of an elderly woman in her own home two weeks ago is an illegal immigrant who was on probation at the time of the brutal attack.
Victor Ramirez, 29, reportedly sexually assaulted and savagely beat Marilyn Pharis, 64, with a hammer after breaking into her Santa Maria, California, home while she was sleeping on July 24.
The victim – who was also allegedly raped by a second man, 20-year-old Jose Villagomez, during the intrusion – was taken to an area hospital with ‘severe injuries’, where she died eight days later.
Now, it has emerged that Ramirez is an undocumented, illegal immigrant from Mexico who has been arrested four times in the past two years and was on probation at the time of the alleged break-in.
The suspect had already been charged twice this year with violating the terms of his probation, which he was sentenced to after committing battery against another woman last May, it is said.
But despite his violations – one of which involved the possession of a concealed knife – a Santa Barbara judge ruled that he could go to a substance abuse center instead of jail, Fox reports.
Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to issue an immigration detainer that would have forced local officials to hold him for deportation, jail officials told the new station.
Speaking to the Santa Maria Times, the city’s police chief, Ralph Martin, confirmed that Ramirez was living in the country illegally – and had been previously arrested four times for ‘minor crimes’.
In an interview with KEYT, he added that the suspect’s status is not relevant at this time. ‘We have a citizen that lost her life, its serious, when you look at it, we don’t care what the circumstances were, we’re going to do what we need to do to get our facts and bring this individual to justice,’ he said.
‘If extenuating circumstances arise as a result of that – that he’s an undocumented immigrant – then we will let the proper authorities address those issues when they present themselves,’ he added.
Officials were due to hold a press conference on the shocking case on Friday afternoon.
On the morning of July 24, Ramirez and Villagomez allegedly broke into Ms Pharis’s home, while she was sleeping, and beat her with a hammer. The victim apparently put up a ‘violent struggle’.
Villagomez also raped the elderly woman, while Ramirez carried out a horrific sexual assault that caused ‘great injury’ to Ms Pharis, officials said. The pair were later tracked down and arrested.
Ramirez, who speaks little English, was found inside another home in the area, it is reported.
Prior to Ms Pharis’s death last Saturday, Ramirez was charged with attempted murder, first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon on an elderly person and assault with intent to commit rape, among other counts.
He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
Villagomez, meanwhile, was charged with sexual assault and attempted murder in the vicious attack, which allegedly occurred at Ms Pharis’s home in North Dejoy Street. According to public records, the victim lived alone.
The suspects’ charges could now be upgraded to murder following Ms Pharis’s passing.
Speaking last week, Ms Pharis’s sister-in-law, Pamela Frame, described the victim as a ‘gentle’ and ‘strong’ woman who had bravely fought back against her alleged attackers.
‘We’re proud of her because she fought back and she fought back enough that the police were able to identify her attacker,’ Ms Frame, who lives in Rochester, New York, told KCOY.
She added that her sister-in-law passed away at Marian Regional Medical Center eight days after the break-in when she suffered a coronary embolism – despite doctors’ efforts to save her.
An autopsy was scheduled to take place on Ms Pharis’s body on Thursday.
The findings could lead to murder charges against both men, and are likely to be mentioned at Friday’s press conference.
Ms Pharis had lived at her home in the 900 block of North Dejoy Street since the 1980s.
She was not married, nor did she have any children, public records appear to show.
The suspects will next appear in court on Thursday.
Martinez’s bail has been set at more than $1million.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3188191/Man-29-charged-sexual-assault-fatal-bludgeoning-elderly-woman-home-illegal-immigrant-probation-time-brutal-attack.html#ixzz3iArpvbjU
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