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June 28, 2022

Another Santos confession at risk

For the second time, prosecutors in the Ralph Santos murder case
may lose a major piece of evidence as suspect Eusebio Ramos’
attorney asked the court to throw out his client’s confession.
Salinas defense attorney Arlene Allan filed a motion with the
court appealing a decision by Superior Court Judge Harry Tobias on
Sept. 2 that squashed the confession of former co-defendent Elisio
Rojas. If upheld, the appeal would throw out a confession made by
Ramos after he was arrested in Stockton on June 29.

It is our contention that he was not Mirandized properly,

Allan said.

He did not fully understand his rights.

For the second time, prosecutors in the Ralph Santos murder case may lose a major piece of evidence as suspect Eusebio Ramos’ attorney asked the court to throw out his client’s confession.

Salinas defense attorney Arlene Allan filed a motion with the court appealing a decision by Superior Court Judge Harry Tobias on Sept. 2 that squashed the confession of former co-defendent Elisio Rojas. If upheld, the appeal would throw out a confession made by Ramos after he was arrested in Stockton on June 29.

“It is our contention that he was not Mirandized properly,” Allan said. “He did not fully understand his rights.”

In her brief filed with the court, Allan says Ramos, 31, speaks only Spanish and that police spent a total of 52 seconds explaining his rights to him.

“He’s only been in this country since April. He did not fully understand what was happening,” Allan said. “Look at it this way, if an American was in Mexico and was arrested and they only gave him 52 seconds to understand and then threw him in jail, I think people would be very upset.”

San Benito County prosecutors said they could not comment on the details of an ongoing case.

If the court upholds Ramos’ appeal, it would be the second time the court has thrown out a confession in the Santos murder case.

Tobias squashed the confession from co-defendant Elicio Rojas, 24, because his rights were not properly explained to him by police.

“I understand that Judge Tobias had a difficult decision to make. If he had thrown out the statements for both men, they probably would not have been held to stand trial,” Allan said.

The appeal on the confession ruling will not be heard until after Ramos and Rojas are arraigned for trial Sept. 24.

Because of the loss of Rojas’ confession, he and Ramos will be tried separately.

Rojas and Ramos, are accused of murdering Ralph Santos on June 10 and discarding his body in a 50-acre mustard seed field off Buena Vista Road, then stealing his car and personal property.

With the exception of a few words, Rojas and Ramos only speak Spanish.

Salinas defense attorney Bud Landreth and Allan said it appears when police were reading Rojas and Ramos their rights, they used a translation that did not fully inform them of their right not to answer police questions or to incriminate themselves.

Landreth said he did not believe police were purposely trying to deny his client of his rights.

“It does not appear that this was anything intentional by the officer, but was merely an oversight,” Landreth said. “I commend the officer for his candor on the witness stand.”

The District Attorney’s office said they have a strong case with or without the confessions.

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