California

Trial date set in Le Grand homicide

A Dec. 2 trial date has been set for a Chowchilla woman charged with killing a Merced man one year ago, according to Merced Superior Court records.

Olivia F. Ramos, 26, has pleaded not guilty to murder in connection with the Sept. 9, 2013, death of Ernesto Estrada Perez, 30.

Perez was shot nearly a dozen times, including twice in the groin, and left in a Le Grand orchard near Buchanan Hollow and South Minturn roads, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Ramos in January was ordered to stand trial by Judge Mark A. Bacciarini after a preliminary hearing in Merced Superior Court.

The shooting started after some type of argument between Perez and Ramos in the orchard. Perez was married and Ramos had a boyfriend. They had been communicating through text messages and social media in the days leading up to the homicide, according to the Sheriff’s Department report.

Ramos apparently admitted shooting Perez during interviews with investigators early on in the case, Detective Erick Macias testified in January.

Caleb Hegland, deputy public defender, during the preliminary hearing earlier this year suggested Ramos’ boyfriend, whom Hegland described as a known gang member, may have been involved in the murder and Ramos had agreed to “take the fall” for him.

Ramos has changed significant details during the investigation, including what she did with the alleged murder weapon and the shell casings. She later told investigators that her boyfriend – who has not been charged in the case – helped her clean up the scene.

The murder weapon hasn’t been found, deputies said.

Ramos remains in custody without bail at the John Latorraca Correctional Facility.

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