Bench Trial Begins for Princeville Man Accused of Slaying Parents

Nov 15, 2019

A bench trial is underway for 22-year-old Jose Ramirez, who is accused of murdering his parents last year. Both were Bradley University employees.

During opening statements, prosecutors painted a straight forward narrative: Ramirez maced, beat and stabbed his parents to death. With the help of a friend, Matthew Roberts, he threw their bodies into the Spoon River.

Roberts is separately due in court next month.

On a Sunday evening last October, Ramirez placed a phony 911 call in which he told the dispatcher he came home for the first time all weekend to find the place ransacked with blood on the carpet. He said he couldn’t find his parents and hadn’t seen them alive since Thursday.

Prosecutors say that last part was the only true statement in the call.

The defense rebutted simply that there is a lot of suspicion in this case, but the evidence doesn’t fully back it up. They hinted at Ramirez’s mental state as a consideration.

When police arrived at the Ramierez household the night of the phone call, they found evidence to suggest the “robbery gone wrong” was staged. Only a television was missing. A large blood stain looked like someone had tried to clean it up.

Within days, police brought Ramirez into the station to question him in connection with their deaths.

The court was shown video of that interview ... in which detectives told Ramirez they didn’t need him to admit he had killed his parents to prove that he did it — but assured him it could help his case to tell the truth.

Ramirez eventually admitted to the murders, but said he had committed the crime singlehandedly.

He refused to tell the detectives why he did it — repeatedly saying the “why” is not important. He told them he didn’t want to get labeled as a suicidal, unstable person.

When they asked Ramirez whether he felt remorse, he replied “somewhat” but that he “didn’t like them” so he didn’t feel that bad.