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Heather Nellis/Recorder staff Authorities escort Ivan Ramos, 31, of Amsterdam, from the Montgomery County Courthouse Wednesday. Ramos is being tried on double homicide and weapons charges.

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Homicide trial starts

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - Updated: 5:31 PM

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- A road map to carnage.

That's how Montgomery County District Attorney James E. "Jed" Conboy on Wednesday described his opening statement to the jury of seven men and seven women who will determine whether 31-year-old Ivan Ramos is guilty of stabbing two people to death last year in Amsterdam.

Conboy's address set the scene for the trial expected to last two to three weeks -- first, a timeline for Ramos' alleged activities the first week of March 2012, then the police investigation that resulted in the collection and recovery of evidence.

It starts on March 1, the day before William McDermott was killed with Cheryl Goss in his Locust Avenue apartment.

It moves through 4:41 a.m. the next day, when someone made a silent, 30-second long call to 911 from a cell phone that police found in McDermott's hand when the slain bodies were discovered an hour later.

Then, anticipated testimony from Craig McCormick, who Conboy said stumbled upon the bodies after leaving the Reid Street apartment of witness Terry Dallas Reidy, who had also received a visit from Ramos roughly an hour earlier to use his phone and call "Pops," his nickname for McDermott.

"You will see the scene," Conboy told the jury. "You will see the carnage."

The carnage starts with smeared blood in the hallway leading to McDermott's apartment.

"You'll see it's clear someone was dragged through that blood from the hallway back into the apartment. It was Billy McDermott, because it was his blood," Conboy said.

And finally, to later that morning, when Ramos reportedly crawled through the window of his wife Patrina's former apartment at the Woodrow Wilson townhouse complex, after first stopping to his sister Elvira Ramos' apartment, also in that complex.

More than 30 people are expected to testify in the trial, including a number of witnesses at McDermott's apartment that night, "people there mainly to smoke crack with Billy," Conboy said. He described the circle as a group that liked to "stay up late and party."

Of the evidence, Conboy said a search at Patrina's apartment produced a pair of "black herringbone-tread sneakers" that were defaced, with pieces of the soles cut away. Police later found a piece of rubber that fits a spot on the defaced sneaker, and a similar print was imprinted in a single tract in the snow from the back door of McDermott's apartment.

Ramos' blood has also been tied to the scene, found on a crack pipe and tissues in a closed dresser drawer in McDermott's bedroom, Conboy said, and also in drops of blood mixed with McDermott's that were found in the snow.

The bedroom is where Goss met her fate. Conboy said she made the "fatal mistake" of running into the bedroom instead of out the back door. Goss locked the bedroom door, but it was forced from the molding, which dangled from the door frame, Conboy said.

The herringbone print was additionally found in blood on Goss' white winter jacket, Conboy said.

As for prints, none of McDermott's were found in his own apartment, nor any others who visited the apartment that night. But Conboy said Ramos' palm print was found on a countertop, and on a stool rung.

Ramos is being represented by Attorney Mark Juda. His address to the jury indicated his defense will question the police's investigation and procedures.

At the very least, he said, McCormick contaminated the scene.

"The police weren't looking at anyone else," Juda said.

"There was no way they were going to allow the evidence not to implicate Ramos."

Ramos complained to county Judge Felix Catena he wouldn't get a fair trial in Montgomery County, alleging some jurors had personal relationships with a victim's family member and even Conboy, but Catena said "everything was filed according to plan," and moved on.

The following is a synopsis of Wednesday's 10 testimonies:

Jacky Agalla, 16-year-old neighbor who formerly lived in the apartment next to Patrina Ramos. Visibly shaken, and through tears, testified he overheard an argument between Katrina and Ivan. "I heard him say he was going to kill somebody."

Miguel "Chocolate" Quinones & Edward Fisher, who say they both smoked crack with Ramos the night of March 1 at McDermott's apartment.

Quinones said he had a conversation with Ramos in Spanish in which Ramos "asked me if I knew someone he could rob." He told him no, Quinones said.

Quinones also spent time with Goss that night, having dropped her off at McDermott's apartment. He recalled her wearing a white winter jacket.

Lydia Pardo, 16-year-old niece of Ramos, daughter of Elvira Ramos. Pardo baby-sat Patrina and Ivan's daughters while Patrina worked an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. night shift at St. Mary's Hospital. Pardo said she heard her uncle come in through a downstairs window sometime before 6 a.m., when her alarm was set, and knew it was him because she recognized his voice when he quieted the dogs. Patrina Ramos, Ivan Ramos' wife. Said her husband did not live with her, rather at 51 Milton Ave., and failed to show up when she had asked him to watch their children that night so she could go to work. When asked if she noticed marks on her husband's face, said yes, that she'd inflicted them roughly a week earlier by hitting him with a lamp.

Elvira Ramos, Ivan Ramos' sister, who lived at an apartment six or seven houses from her sister-in-law. Said the morning of March 2, before 6 a.m., her brother knocked loudly on her door, demanded entry, and she obliged. Gave testimony that was inconsistent with remarks to a grand jury, ultimately discrediting her testimony and designating her as an incredible witness.

Elvira denied that her brother had used her downstairs bathroom, which was blocked by exercise weights from use the night before. Conboy said Ramos' boyfriend, Mario Rios, will testify hearing what sounded like someone lifting weights downstairs, and seeing blood in that bathroom the next morning.

Terry Dallas Reedy, a Reid Street resident who hadn't been to McDermott's that night, rather hosted McCormick for much of the evening and early morning. Said Ramos stopped after 3 a.m. to use his phone to call McDermott to attempt to sell some drugs. He listened to the conversation, and recognized McDermott's number on the phone when Ramos was finished using it. Said McCormick returned to his apartment later, banging on the door to get in. "And I mean banging," Reedy said." McCormick told him he saw McDermott's slain body, and a female body. "He was white as a ghost."

Michael "BooBoo" Fiomara & Amy Hayes, inmates at the county jail who were respectively arrested March 6 and handcuffed to the booking rail at the Amsterdam Police Department. Hayes said she was in between Fiomara and Ramos, and Ramos told Fiomara he'd "give the police department the murder weapon for 100 percent immunity."

Conboy asked Fiomara questions about his signed statement to police that indicated the same, but Fiomara appeared uncooperative and said he did not remember making those statements.

Twila Dopp, county 911 coordinator at the sheriff's office. Produced recordings of the aforementioned 911 call, which was played for the jury. It was silent except for what could be perceived as noise from a television or radio, and shuffling in the background. Said the call was traced to Locust Avenue.

In a subsequent recording, the dispatcher redialed the number, which rang unanswered until voicemail was triggered.

"Leave a message and I'll call you back," a voice that struck McDermott's family members sitting in the audience.

     

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