The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary demanded on Tuesday to know why a “total breakdown in cooperation between local and federal law enforcement” occurred, and authorities let violent illegal alien Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez roam the streets of a sanctuary city instead of deporting him.
Ramirez, along with accomplice Jose Fernando Villagomez, allegedly broke into Marilyn Pharis’s home on July 24 while she slept, beat her with a hammer until both her eye sockets were shattered and her neck broken, while strangling and raping her with a foreign object. Despite her horrifying injuries, she managed to call police — as Ramirez broke into another home. She died eight days later of her injuries.
Ramirez faces special allegations that could make him eligible for the death penalty, such as “felony murder with rape by instrument and murder with torture,” according to the Santa Maria Times. He also pled not guilty to charges of “attempted murder, first-degree burglary with person present, assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration by foreign object and resisting a peace officer” last week.
Grassley wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson:
It appears that Martinez [Ramirez] has been arrested several times since 2009, but through a combination of sanctuary city policies that the Santa Maria Police Department was required to follow and official disinterest in the cases on the part of ICE, Martinez was eventually released to allegedly murder Ms. Pharis. In 2009, Martinez was arrested for driving without a license, but ICE elected not to file a detainer on him. In May 2014, Martinez was arrested on felony drug and sexual assault (later modified to misdemeanor battery) charges. That time, ICE did file a detainer on Martinez, but the Santa Maria sheriff’s office declined to honor it.
Santa Maria officials never explained why Ramirez’s felony sexual assault charges were dropped, nor did they notify ICE when they released him on probation. Grassley added in the letter:
Clearly, there has been a total breakdown in cooperation between local and federal law enforcement that allowed this alleged killer to be released and, despite his lengthy and violent criminal record, never deported. Police Chief Martin said, ‘I am not remiss to say that from Washington, D.C., to Sacramento, there’s a blood trail into the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis.’ Clearly, sanctuary city policies are wreaking havoc on citizens, and especially on women.
Police previously said they “don’t care” that Ramirez is an illegal alien after they arrested him.
“We have a citizen that lost her life, it’s 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,” Santa Maria Police Department Commander Kendall Greene said.
But Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin blamed both California Gov. Jerry Brown’s and President Barack Obama’s immigration policies that prevented local and federal law enforcement from cooperating.
“I am not remiss to say that, from Washington, D.C., to Sacramento, there is a blood trail into the bedroom of Marilyn Pharis,” he said. “We can all point fingers locally at each other. ICE can point the finger at the sheriff, they can point it everywhere else, but the reality is it starts at the very top, and it’s not going to get fixed until it gets started at the very top and reached the lower levels.”
Despite Pharis’s alleged rape and torture-murder becoming national news as public rage builds against “sanctuary city” policies, Martin said he heard nothing but “crickets” from state and federal officials.
Grassley is also demanding to know if Ramirez had applied for amnesty during the time in which he was committing crime sprees in California.
Email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @k_mcq.