Gonzales County reschedules murder trial

Date: 2008-07-09

Gonzales County reschedules murder trial

Birth mother of deceased girl growing frustrated

July 09, 2008
SONNY LONG

GONZALES – Crystal Ramirez will have been dead for more than a year and her 10th birthday passed the next time the couple accused of murdering her set foot in a courtroom.

On Wednesday, a pre-trial hearing for Steve and Bettie Ramirez was rescheduled for Sept. 10. Originally set for Monday, July 14, the trial for the dead girl’s adoptive parents was also rescheduled for Nov. 3. Defense attorney Robert Caine and Assistant District Attorney Carrie Moy met briefly before 25th District Judge W.C. Kirkendall approved the new dates.

“The case is not ready for either side,” said Moy.

The slow wheels of justice are frustrating Teresa Camarillo, Crystal’s birth mother. Camarillo lost custody of Crystal and her siblings in 2001.

“It makes me wonder what the hold-up is. I thought next week might bring some closure, but now it’s wait two more months,” said Camarillo after court Wednesday. “They are walking around free while my little girl is six feet under the ground. That’s not right.”

Arrested on Aug. 24, the couple spent about six months in the Gonzales County jail before their bond was lowered to $75,000 each. The bonds had been $350,000 on Steve Ramirez, 65, and $300,000 on Bettie Ramirez, 59.

The husband took Crystal’s body to the Belmont fire station on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007, nine days before her 9th birthday, saying she had been hurt in a trampoline accident. Travis County Medical Examiner David Dolinak later reported that Crystal suffered from malnutrition and weighed only 45 pounds at the time of her death.

She also suffered “at least 10 impact areas to the head” causing bleeding between the skull and the brain, according to the ME’s report.

A Gonzales County grand jury indicted the couple for murder on Monday, Nov. 19.

They were also indicted for injury to a child. Last month, additional indictments of unlawful restraint and endangering a child were added to the charges the couple faces. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Sonny Long is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. He can be reached at 361-580-6585, by e-mail at slong@vicad.com.

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