Two years after Christopher Ramirez shot his uncles dead at a Spokane Valley apartment complex, a judge last week sent him to prison for 82 years.
A jury convicted Ramirez, 34, of killing brothers Juan Gallegos-Rodriguez and Arturo Gallegos.
Ramirez’s first-degree murder trial had been delayed significantly because he was determined incompetent to stand trial last March following a long wait for a mental health evaluation. Relatives described him to police as paranoid and quick to anger and said he’d previously threatened the brothers.
After spending 90 days at Eastern State Hospital for competency restoration, a hospital psychiatrist said Ramirez was competent to stand trial on Dec. 21, 2015, court records show.
The report said Ramirez had psychotic disorder, paranoid personality disorder and a “prolonged history of substance abuse” including alcohol and methamphetamine. But it found he was able to understand the charges against him and did not appear to have paranoid thoughts about the court proceedings.
The prosecution’s case relied in part on testimony from a neighboring homeowner, court documents say. He told investigators a Hispanic man walked up to his house on the night of the shootings, introduced himself as Demon and said he needed to get away from police because he was carrying a knife and was under Department of Corrections supervision.
Ramirez’s public defender, Derek Reid, argued unsuccessfully to suppress testimony because the man was unable to identify Ramirez as the man he had spoken to. Judge Raymond Clary allowed the testimony.
The jury also found Ramirez guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors argued Ramirez should be sentenced to the high end of the standard sentencing range given his nine previous felony convictions. “Given the age of the defendant, this is nearly certain to be a life sentence,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Clary followed the prosecutor’s recommendation and also ordered Ramirez to pay $10,000 in restitution. Ramirez, who has been in jail since November 2014, will receive credit for time he’s already served.