The unexpected drama brought to a quick end the homicide case of Cynthia Ramos, 58, a woman savagely killed in her home inside the Green Oaks Mobile Home Park on Aug. 6.
Robert Morgan, 39, and Jorge Morgan. 24, entered guilty pleas Tuesday morning to a murder charge and a robbery charge and will spend the rest of their lives in prison with no chance for parole.
Eric Taylor, Jorge Morgan’s attorney, told the judge he advised his client against a guilty plea, because he thought he had a chance to get life with parole if convicted, but his client pleaded guilty anyway.
Prosecutor Valli Israels agreed to drop special-circumstance charges that the pair lay in wait for the victim and that the murder was committed during a burglary.
But the Morgans’ pleas mean they got the same sentence they would have received had they been convicted of all charges.
“I guess they just wanted to get it over with,” Israels said after the proceeding.
Relatives of Ramos had a chance to address the court immediately after the morning’s guilty pleas, but they asked Judge Bernard Garber for time to gather their thoughts before they spoke.
About 20 of Ramos’ relatives were in court, where four of them talked to the woman’s killers, who sat with their backs to the family and showed no emotion.
Ramos fought back against the Morgans as they stabbed her 55 times, bludgeoned her 13 times and strangled her before stealing the suitcase she used as a safe for her valuables, according to forensic reports.
The thought of her terrifying screams in the last moments of her life will torture her six children and grandchildren forever, they said.
“You sentenced us Aug. 6,” said Ramos’ son, Daniel Martinez. “I just hope you rot in hell.”
Ramos’ daughter, Christina Barnes, read three pages she had written during the court break. She remembered her mother as loving and kindhearted, a woman who sometimes took in strangers and who helped the homeless.
Barnes called her mother’s murderers “demons disguised as humans” and said “only the soulless” could inflict the kind of pain her mother endured.
She told the Morgans that “there will never be justice, because our mother is gone forever,” but that at least she has a loving family to keep her memory alive, unlike the Morgans, she said, who will spend eternity in fiery hell.
“The difference is, no one will care.”
Israels said the family was satisfied with the guilty plea and appreciated that the Morgans put an end to the case.
The only thing left, Israels said, was for the defendants to show some remorse, rather than the hallway taunts Martinez said he endured from Jorge Morgan, who once told him, “I did it. And I’d do it again.”
But when asked if they wanted to say anything, each declined to apologize to the family or explain what led them to kill Ramos.
The defendants will be forced to pay several hundred dollars in fines and fees, and their attorneys said the Morgans’ belongings could be sold to pay the fines and restitution.
The men have computer goods and other gear that could be sold, the court was told.
The Morgans are registered domestic partners in San Joaquin County, and Robert Morgan told the court he wanted to take his wedding ring to prison with him. Garber said he had no legal reason to deny the request.
Outside the courtroom afterward, Ramos’ family hugged and cried and addressed television news cameras, where Barnes said she and her relatives are working to form a national foundation to help the sons and daughters of murder victims deal with the crime.
Children of Murdered Parents would help both adults and kids in the aftermath of a parent’s murder, but Barnes said it would focus on children, “so they can be stable adults. It’s the only way to make sense of it.”
• Contact Tracy Press city editor Eric Firpo at 830-4223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.