Illegal alien Victor Martinez (Ramirez) is one of two men that could face the death penalty in California for first-degree murder in the brutal rape and bludgeoning–with a claw hammer–of 64-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran Marilyn Pharis.
Pharis initially survived, called 9-1-1 and lived for about one week following the brutal attack.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley indicated Thursday that a decision had yet to be made whether or not to pursue the death penalty against either Ramirez or the other alleged murderer, Jose Fernando Villagomez, 20, according to the New York Daily News. Dudley will make the decision based on information from police, other prosecutors in the D.A.’s office, executive staff, the victim’s family and defense attorneys, Fox News quoted her as saying.
Ramirez has been arrested six times in the last 15 months for crimes ranging from sexual assault and possessing methamphetamine to weapons and driving without a valid license. The most recent arrest was eight days before the murder, according to immigration officials. He was released just four days before the July 24 murder after he pled no contest to weapons and drug charges.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued a detainer request for Ramirez in May 2014 after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department incarcerated Ramirez. ICE issued the request with the intention of pursuing possible administrative immigration enforcement action, according to a department spokesperson. The request was not honored and Ramirez was released a week later. ICE was not notified.
The Obama administration’s November 2014 changes in immigration enforcement guidelines led ICE to not issue an immigration detainer after Ramirez’s July 2015 arrest. ICE officials based the decision on the enforcement priorities and a review of case history. That history showed no prior deportations or significant criminal convictions, according to ICE. Had ICE issued a detainer request, there is reason to believe that it would not have been honored given the prior incident.
Now that Martinez has been incarcerated and charged with first-degree murder, ICE has issued a formal request for notification should Martinez (Ramirez) be released from custody. It is not clear whether that request would be honored.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations associated with this individual’s arrest, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is monitoring the case closely and has lodged a formal request with the custodial law enforcement agency seeking notification in advance of his release or transfer from local custody,” ICE spokesperson Virgina Kice told Breitbart News.
The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office was not available for immediate comment.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana