BV jury finds teen guilty of murder, but attorneys to demand a new trial.
Rene Zarate was found guilty of premeditated, first-degree murder in the May 2, 1999, stabbing death of 47-year-old Jorge Ramos. The jury returned a verdict shortly before noon on Thursday.
Throughout the trial and the verdict, Zarate remained somber and sat silently. Zarate, 17, was tried as an adult. He was 15 at the time of the stabbing.
Zarate stabbed Ramos, a recent immigrant from Peru, approximately 50 times with a fillet knife after an argument between Ramos and some teenagers. The teens had been drinking beer in the trailer where Ramos rented a room.
After the verdict, Buena Vista County assistant county attorney Rick Kimble said the prosecution had no doubts the jury would deliver the verdict of first-degree murder. Assistant Attorney General Charles Thoman was the lead prosecutor on the case.
"We're pleased with the result. I think the verdict speaks for itself largely," Kimble said. "People were able to make a decision for themselves and made a decision on the case."
After the verdict, defense attorney Matt Sheeley said he and his co-counsel, Jennifer Larson, were obviously "not happy."
"We're frustrated because in hindsight we thought Rene shouldn't have been transferred from juvenile court, that he could be adequately rehabilitated," Sheeley said.
Read the rest of this article in the 2/10 Pilot Tribune.