Prosecutors say they’re ready to try a 17-year-old illegal Guatemalan immigrant for murder.
Moises Antonio Morales Ramos was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury July 25 in the murder of Eleazar Lopez-Martinez.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, police responded to the 6600 block of Westwood Street just off College Street in Beaumont on July 7 to find Lopez-Martinez face down in a ditch with a single gunshot wound to his back.
When police questioned the occupants of a nearby trailer, they found Ramos, who admitted to knowing Lopez-Martinez.
Ramos was brought to the Beaumont police station where ICE officers questioned his involvement in the killing. The affidavit said at first, Ramos denied any knowledge of the murder and was released July 8 with the understanding he would return the next day. When he returned, the affidavit said Ramos admitted to killing Lopez-Martinez.
Ramos said little to reporters Tuesday, July 9, as he was led to jail from the Beaumont Police Department downtown station, but BPD spokesman Joe Ornelas said officers have found their man with the help of Beaumont’s Hispanic community.
“The Hispanic community tends to put pressure on the individuals,” Ornelas said. “If they know something, they’re going to pressure that individual to turn themselves in.”
Ornelas said without a host of anonymous tipsters, police might not have been able to find the murderer as easily.
“There were a lot of anonymous tips from the trailer park,” he said. “People just didn’t want to get involved, so they gave us the tips and eventually (put) pressure on the gentleman to come in and confess.”
What’s more, residents of the local trailer park where Lopez and Ramos lived eventually found the murder weapon, which had gone missing in the days after Lopez was shot in the back.
“He hid the gun, and the residents in the trailer park located that gun and called police,” Ornelas said.
The murdered Lopez-Martinez was a family man who leaves behind sons and daughters.
Ramos is currently in the Jefferson County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond. He is set to appear for trial in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court on Feb. 10, 2014.