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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Unraveling of a killing

Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Trial begins for SL teen Zarate, as testimony tells of unsupervised youths, drinking, and fatal argument.

"There was a guy in front of me with a weird look on his face... a look of shock. The whole front of his shirt was just like red."

- Witness Nick Smith

The trial of Rene Zarate, 17, of Storm Lake, started this week at the Buena Vista County Courthouse. Zarate is accused of murdering 47-year-old Jorge Ramos to death, stabbing him approximately 50 times.

Testimony began Thursday and the prosecution continued on Friday to lay out the facts of what happened in the predawn hours of May 2, 1999. Attorneys for Zarate developed his defense of intoxication and diminished responsibility.

During opening statements for the prosecution, Assistant Attorney General Charles Thoman laid out the events of that evening and told the jury of nine women and three men that Zarate should be found guilty.

"In the early morning hours, around 2 a.m., this defendant in an act of viciousness and violence repeatedly stabbed Jorge Ramos," he told the jurors.

However, defense attorney Jennifer Larson reminded the jury that the burden of proof is on the state and immediately began laying ground for Zarate's defense of intoxication and diminished responsibility.

Read the rest of this article in the 2/03 Pilot Tribune.

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