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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Plea bargain possible in SL murder case

Tuesday, October 3, 2000

A plea bargain may be in the works for one of the Storm Lake juveniles accused of the May 2, 1999, stabbing death of Jorge Ramos, 47, of Storm Lake.

Rene Zarate, 16, and Issac Cruz, 15, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ramos, a native of Peru. Zarate will be tried as an adult, and Cruz will be tried as a youthful offender.

According to court papers filed by Zarate's attorney, Matthew Sheeley, the defendant "anticipates upon information and belief that co-defendant Issac Cruz will testify against (the) defendant at trail pursuant to a separate plea agreement."

In a motion filed earlier this year, co-counsel for Cruz, Martha McMinn, noted that "a review of the police report in this case shows that Cruz has made statements implicating co-defendant Zarate as the perpetuator."

The trial of Cruz and Zarate has been pushed back from September to Dec. 12, 2000, to allow defense witnesses more time to prepare.

According to court papers filed by attorneys for Zarate, Dr. Dean Wright, a sociologist at Drake University, will "testify to the sociological significance of gang affiliation to the facts."

A witness to the murder, Fabian Reyes, gave statements to police that he had witnessed the stabbing and the events leading up to it. According to court documents, Reyes will identify Zarate as the stabber and will provide testimony showing Cruz's part as an aider and abetter.

Reyes was disposed Aug. 21 by defense attorneys.

"During Fabian Reyes' deposition, some information came to light which indicates that an additional expert will be needed to develop a theory of defense in this case," Sheeley stated in court papers.

Read the rest of this article in the 10/03 Pilot Tribune.