Convicted killer to serve 50 to life

first_imgA 19-year-old gang member was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years to life in prison for gunning down an innocent man in front of the victim’s Hacienda Heights home. Juan Tovar was sentenced to 25years to life for first-degree murder and another 25 to life for using a gun to shoot James Ramos, 50. Tovar and co-defendant Anne Marie Harrison, 24, had mistaken Ramos for an informant who testified against a fellow gang member. Ramos had no connection to the gang member, authorities said. Pomona Superior Court Judge Charles Horan expressed sympathy for Ramos’s widow and sons. “Unfortunately, this is not that unusual. … This is business as usual in Southern California,” he said. “It happens because people let their children wear gang clothes, shave their heads, get tattoos and live a gang life,” he said. “This was an innocent family man trying to get to work.” Ramos was getting ready to go to his early-morning shift at Albertsons, where he had worked for 30 years. But on March 2, 2004, around 3 a.m., his car wouldn’t start. As he tried to change the battery, Tovar and Harrison pulled up alongside him and Tovar fired a shotgun round into Ramos. Harrison, the driver, was convicted of second-degree murder. According to witness testimony, she pointed out the home and encouraged Tovar to shoot. Her sentencing has been delayed until March 17 because she has switched attorneys and the attorney needs time to prepare for the sentencing, the court heard. The case remained unsolved a year later, until an anonymous tip came from a person who read a newspaper story about the one-year anniversary of the shooting. Tovar and Harrison were arrested in July. Family members spoke to the judge before the sentencing. Joseph Ramos, the second of Ramos’ three sons, told the court that for a long time after the murder he tried to come up with reasons why his father was killed. “I went through every possibility. … I couldn’t bring myself to believe my father died for no reason,” he said. Vivian Ramos, the victim’s wife, said she was making coffee and lunch for her husband at 3 a.m. the morning of the murder. She wanted to help with the car, but Ramos told her to go back inside because it was raining and cold, she said. They were married 32 years. “He was my provider, my protector,” she said. “Even with his last breath he wanted to protect me.” Tovar appeared to be listening to the family’s statements, but did not show emotion. Tovar’s attorney, James Horan, had argued during the trial that Tovar took credit for a murder he didn’t commit in order to elevate his gang status, and he couldn’t backtrack even after he was arrested. Detectives had a tape of Tovar discussing the murder with a fellow gang member in a prison cell, not knowing he was being recorded. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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