A 28-year-old man with a history of mental problems was arraigned in Santa Clara County Superior Court today on murder and attempted murder charges in the stabbing deaths of his mother and 1-year nephew and injuries to his 3-year-old niece. Ruben Ramirez, of San Jose, alternately shielded his face from news cameras and conferred with his public defender as Judge Philip Pennypacker set a plea hearing for July 8 to the give his attorney time to review evidence in the case. The judge ordered that Ramirez remain without bail in the Santa Clara County Jail system, which, according to Ramirez’s public defender Kelley Kulick, has classified him as suffering from mental health problems.
Ramirez faces two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder with a knife and special circumstances involving a double murder, making him eligible for the death penalty or life imprisonment, Deputy District Attorney Matt Braker said. “His mental state is one of many factors,” Braker said after the hearing. “There is a lot about the defendant that needs to be found out.” Kulick, who noted that the news media had reported details about Ramirez’s mental health history, said her defense would include obtaining an “understanding of who he is and how he got to this point.” “Our hearts go out to the entire Ramirez family,” Kulick told reporters. “This is a horrible tragedy.” Ramirez allegedly fled the scene of a brutal stabbing attack in San Jose on Wednesday that killed his 48-year-old mother and 1-year-old nephew and wounded his 3-year-old niece, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Ramirez’s mother was babysitting the infant boy and 3-year-old girl, who were her grandchildren, in a residence on Viewmont Avenue near Alum Rock Avenue shared by several generations of family members, deputies said. A family member made an emergency call at 3:38 p.m. after entering the home and discovering three people inside suffering from stab wounds. Emergency responders pronounced the woman and the boy dead at the scene. The 3-year-old, who was taken to a hospital, survived the assault.
The family member who found the victims reported seeing Ramirez at the home earlier in the day but he was not there when the family member returned. Deputies, who learned that Ramirez might have traveled to San Francisco, notified officials from the San Francisco Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service who found and captured Ramirez in that city. In recent years, sheriff’s deputies were called to answer several emergency complaints involving Ramirez from his family’s home in unincorporated San Jose. One call occurred on Oct. 18, when the family alleged he had attempted to break down a door, deputies said. Deputies trained in crisis intervention for people with mental illnesses responded and transported Ramirez to a mental health facility at least once for treatment, deputies said.
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