The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

New criminal tactic: Kill an entire family, wait 15 years THEN say your confession was coerced.

Posted by Bill Nance on November 11, 2008

I was shocked tonight to see an article in a newspaper near where I used to work and live.  Forgive me if the news is a couple of weeks old, but I just had to write something about this particular incident.

The sun was out and it was unseasonably warm the morning of Wednesday, March 24, 1993. At the time I was working for a trio of weekly papers and a monthly business journal and had a “beat” covering crime. I got a call from a source at a local law enforcement agency that morning telling me to drop what I was doing and hustle myself out to an address in Outlook, Washington. He didn’t say why, he just said: “You’ve gotta see this.”

The address in Outlook, which sits just across the interstate from the sleepy farming town of Granger, famous locally for it’s annual cherry festival, was up a short gravel road and turned out to be a trailer/mobile-home. Some police were present, including my source, and while no one was looking I was able to quickly enter the crime scene and have a peek into the home.

The scene was chaotic and I was quickly chased out, but what I saw was enough to last me a lifetime. An entire family of four had been murdered.

A six-year old had been bludgeoned to death while hiding in his bed with what later turned out to be a piece of firewood, as well as receiving multiple stab-wounds. The father of the family, who was disabled,  had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death trying to defend his family. The 12-year-old was stabbed to death as he begged for his mother’s life and the mother, surprised in the shower was stabbed multiple times, killing her.

The entire county was shocked. It was the most horrific crime on record in Central Washington. People purchased firearms, those with concealed-carry permits made sure they were armed. Children were kept off streets.

No one could imagine that it would be two 14-year-old boys who would be the culprits.

It took police remarkably little time to find Joel Ramos and Miguel Gaitan, both gang members and residents of Granger and even less time for Ramos to confess to the murders, claiming they had committed the crime to impress other gang members. As I recall, one of the boys had been living in California and had been involved with a notoriously violent gang there. He had been shipped off to Granger to get him out of the gang. -He brought it with him.

To say the community was outraged does not begin to describe the unanimous outcry. “Get a rope,” was the least extreme reaction heard in every coffee shop in the county. (They still hang people in Washington).

Since the two were so young, the death-penalty was excluded. Ramos pled guilty, receiving an 80-year sentence and making him ineligible for release until he was 82-years-old, and Gaitan, after trial, received four consecutive life terms.

This crime is one of two things I saw as a reporter which to this day give me nightmares. But I thought at least in this case that justice had been served. No death penalty, but at least the two would either never get out of prison, or would be octogenarians when they were released.

But 15 years after the crimes, Ramos is claiming his confession was coerced, and what’s more, had the chutzpah to ask for bail while the appeal works its way though the courts. Thankfully, the request was denied.

Of course even if Ramos wins his appeal, he will be tried again (at no doubt ruinous cost) and he will try, and fail, to be tried as a juvenile. Since his age at the time of the crime will still rule out the death penalty, the communal veangance which I would like (and am rightfully barred from obtaining) will not be forthcoming. (I doubt he has a prayer of a succesful jury trial). However, I certainly hope he gets the same four consecutive life terms as Gaitan.

Have fun in Walla Walla, scumbag. When it’s over I can only say I wish there was an actual Hell for you to rot in.


One Response to “New criminal tactic: Kill an entire family, wait 15 years THEN say your confession was coerced.”

  1. Gaitan said

    Miguel was never in a gang in Cali. Learn your facts. Their were never any witness that say they heard them say anything. It was just a officer.

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