A man who prosecutors say shot and killed a 22-year-old Sacramento man over a bag of marijuana and dumped his body in Rodeo was sentenced in a Martinez courtroom this morning to 26 years in prison.
Jesse Evans, 29, of Sacramento received the sentence for the October 2011 killing of Anthony Ramos during an emotional hearing this morning attended by about a dozen of the victim’s family members. The defendant, who was initially charged with murder, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and enhancements for use of a gun and for having a prior felony conviction as part of a plea deal with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said Evans, his girlfriend Stacey Costa, his co-defendant Isaiah Duckworth and another accomplice, Stanley Marion, drove to a home in Sacramento on Oct. 27, 2011, to buy marijuana from the victim, whom they had never met.
According to his testimony during a preliminary hearing, Duckworth got into the car’s trunk to leave space for Ramos to sit in the car’s passenger seat.
After the victim got in the car with a small bag of pot Evans pulled out a gun, prompting the victim to offer him the drugs, according to Deputy District Attorney Jason Peck.
Still pointing the gun at Ramos Evans asked him, “Why are you looking at me like that,” and shot him in the head, killing him, Peck said.
The defendant and his accomplices then drove to Fairfield where they bought bleach and trash bags, then headed to Oakland to look for a place to dump Ramos’s body, the prosecutor said.
Evans commanded Duckworth and Marion at gunpoint to strip the body and douse it with bleach before ultimately dumping it off of the roadway near the intersection of San Pablo and Rodeo avenues in Rodeo, according to Peck.
The body was found in the early morning hours of Oct. 28, 2011.
Phone records led investigators to the arrests about a year later to Evans and Duckworth. Marion, who fled to Nevada immediately after the shooting, was initially the main suspect in the killing and was arrested.
After hours of interrogation he told investigators that Evans was the shooter and was later released from custody, according to Peck.
Costa, who was in an ongoing relationship with Evans, also identified him as the shooter during interviews with police.
Duckworth, who is out of custody, is also charged with the murder and will return to court later this month, Peck said.
All three testified during court proceedings that it was Evans who murdered Ramos.
In court today, Ramos’s friends and family members described him as a smart, fun-loving young man who was always ready to help out and whose happy nature brightened up family gatherings.
“He was the one who kept the family together,” Ramos’s mother told the court, sobbing.
In addition to his parents, siblings and a large extended family, Ramos’s death devastated his longtime girlfriend, whom he had dated for about 10 years, relatives said in court today.
“I knew there were monsters out there, but I never imagined one would come into our lives and mark us forever,” Sandra Del Rio, the mother of Ramos’s girlfriend, said tearfully.
“You took someone we all dearly loved,” she told Evans in court today.
Many of Ramos’s friends and family today pleaded with the judge for a more severe sentence for Evans.
Peck said that the decision to negotiate Evans’s plea deal stemmed from “challenges with witnesses” and the effect their testimony might have on a jury.
“It’s not a reflection on Anthony Ramos or the barbaric way he was killed,” the prosecutor said.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Patricia Scanlon told Ramos’s family today that the defendant is getting the maximum sentence possible for the crimes he pleaded to.
If his case went to trial, she said, “It’s possible he could walk out the door.”
Evans has a prior felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and will be on lifetime parole upon his release from prison.
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