Man gets life plus up to 80 years for killing of fellow inmate during Nebraska prison riot
TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — A Gage County man was sentenced to life plus 60 to 80 years in prison Friday for the killing of a fellow inmate who was stabbed more than 100 times during a riot at a Nebraska state prison.
The sentencing of Eric Ramos came over a month after he was found guilty in December of first-degree murder, use of a weapon to commit murder and tampering with evidence in the case of the 2017 slaying of Michael Galindo.
District Judge Rick Schreiner said the jury had plenty of facts to determine that Ramos was guilty, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. He added that when Ramos testified at trial, he gave jurors an opportunity to see his profile, which they could then compare to prison security video of the attack.
Ramos, 33, has denied being an assailant seen in the video and said he would not have jeopardized his upcoming parole by participating in the attack. He declined a chance to speak at the sentencing on the advice of counsel, due to a coming appeal.
Defense lawyer Tim Noerrlinger has argued that the video was of poor quality and that investigators did not test blood found on the hands and clothing of other inmates.
Noerrlinger filed a motion for a new trial following the December verdict. In it he argued that Ramos was prevented from getting a fair trial due to various issues, including a failure by prosecutors to disclose reports about one witness until after he testified and about a second potential witness the state hadn’t previously mentioned until two weeks into the proceedings.
The motion was rejected by Shreiner this week, but those issues are expected to be revisited on appeal.
Galindo, 31, was found dead in his cell on March 2, 2017, one of two inmates slain during the riot at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.
Investigators said he had been severely beaten and stabbed 130 times, and an autopsy determined he died of smoke inhalation after other inmates set towels ablaze and pushed them into the cell through a broken window.
In his second trial, prosecutors relied heavily on the surveillance video, from which a prison guard identified Ramos as one of the attackers.
Investigators said Ramos was one of several who attacked Galindo, but he is the only one to face charges so far.
No one has been charged in the killing of the second inmate who died in the riot, Damon Fitzgerald.