Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 24, 2014

Jacksonville man found guilty of murder

JACKSONVILLE — On Tuesday, April 22, a jury found Jose Diaz Perez, 51, of Jacksonville guilty of murder. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing Martha Caselin Ramirez on March 17, 2012.

Perez had been dating Ramirez until about two weeks before her murder, when she left him due to his excessive drinking and controlling behavior. The six-day trial was heard before Judge Bascom Bentley III. District Attorney Rachel L. Patton, with the assistance of Deborah D. Dictson, Assistant District Attorney, prosecuted the case.

Jurors heard testimony that the defendant went to Ramirez's home, which she shared with her three sons. The evidence showed that just after 1 a.m., the defendant fired his 9mm semi-automatic pistol at Ramirez three times while she sat in his truck. Ramirez was hit twice in the chest, with one bullet piercing her heart, lung and kidney.

Statements and testimony by the defendant revealed that he drove through Jacksonville to land he owned off CR 4201, where he dumped Ramirez's body, along with her clothing and personal items.

When asked by the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Detective Gina Battley if Ramirez was still breathing when he dumped her body, Perez said “I don't know. I really don't.”

Perez also gave detectives several statements trying to blame Ramirez for the murder, claiming she attached him first and that she had practiced witchcraft on him. Both statements he admitted were lies while testifying.

Because Perez claimed to have accidentally shot Ramirez, the jury heard testimony from Perez's ex-wife, Barbara Ward. Ward said Perez was controlling and treated her children poorly. Testimony revealed that Perez had also shot Ward in the jaw, right shoulder and right arm one night.

Perez said he had shot beside Ward because she was yelling at him and that she “ran into the bullets.”

The jury took 35 minutes to find Perez guilty and hand down a sentence.

Jacksonville defense attorney Chris Day represented the defendant.

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