Trial begins for couple accused of starving child to death

Date: 2007-12-18

Trial begins for couple accused of starving child to death

Brian New
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
12/18/2007 08:26 PM CST

They are accused of the unthinkable. A husband and wife accused of starving their daughter to death went before a judge Tuesday in Gonzales County, southeast of San Antonio.

Ruben Stephen Ramirez and Bettie Ramirez were arraigned on charges of injury to a child and murder.

According to court documents, the couple restrained their daughter, starved her and beat her with a cane. Investigators say this was one of the worst cases of child abuse they have ever seen.

Eight-year-old Crystal Ramirez died in August, and at the time, she weighed 28 pounds.

"The allegations are heinous, and we are looking forward to aggressively prosecuting this case," said Gonzales County District Attorney Vicki Patillo.

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But the defense paints a different picture.

"This is a loving father and mother who cared greatly for their children," said Nate Stark, Bettie Ramirez's defense attorney.

Stark says his client had nothing to do with Crystal's death.

"Just like an automobile accident, or sometimes bad things happen, but it's not because of intent," Stark said.

Teresa Camarillo is Crystal's biological mother, and she says her daughter's death was no accident.

"That's not love. When you love someone, you don't hurt them on purpose," Camarillo said.

Next, the couple will go to a pretrial hearing, which is scheduled for Feb. 20.

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