The prosecution presented forensic evidence Friday involving the victim’s blood and then rested its case against Raheem Davon Jones, 22, after four days of testimony.
Jones is charged with capital murder in the death of 18-year-old Vonsell Ramirez. He is accused of killing him with a beer bottle June 8, 2016, during a drug deal. Jones is one of three accused in the death. Braylen Snell and Marissa Martinez are also charged.
During the last day of testimony, Victoria County special prosecutor Edward Wilkinson called two witnesses, including Victoria police Sgt. Kelly Luther and forensic scientist Robin Olson Castro.
Luther testified that the steering wheel lock was removed Wednesday from the red pickup that was at the crime scene. Martinez testified Thursday that Jones intended to confront Ramirez with the wheel lock before she and Snell took it from him.
The wheel lock had been in the pickup that has been in police custody as evidence since 2016.
“I quickly went to the truck and grabbed what was requested,” Luther said when defense attorney Micah Hatley asked why the lock was just recently submitted into evidence.
The lock was among other items frozen in time, like cups and empty bottles, Luther said during Hatley’s cross-examination.
The prosecution for the Raheem Jones capital murder trial continue hearing testimony for law enforcement official. Later this afternoon, jurors will hear from Marissa Martinez who also faces murder charges for the death of Ramirez. pic.twitter.com/LEffCh9u92— Samantha Douty (@SamanthaDouty) September 26, 2019
Castro works at the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab in Corpus Christi, where 51 items of evidence were sent for testing. She tested for DNA the clothing worn by people involved at the scene and the bottle that was used to slash Ramirez’s throat.
Among the items Castro tested was Ramirez’s clothing and a sample of his blood.
“We need it to make a comparison with evidentiary items,” Castro explained.
The broken bottle was sent to Austin for DNA to be collected and sent back to Castro to compare to the DNA samples of those involved.
The only DNA on the bottle belonged to Ramirez, Castro testified as the glass shards held together by a Budweiser label were shown to the jury.
Along with the bottle, she testified that blood was found on Jones’ left hand and jeans and Snell’s jeans and hoodie.
Three blood stains were found on jeans that Jones was wearing on June 8, 2016. The front of his jeans had the DNA of Ramirez and Jones, while the other two spots had only Ramirez’s DNA.
To test the DNA, Castro said, she cut the stains off the jeans and tested them against the DNA of Jones, Martinez, Snell and Ramirez. The swatches were later frozen to preserve the evidence.
“The jeans were fairly clean,” Castro said during cross-examination.
Castro testified that the blood on Snell’s hoodie belonged to Ramirez. The blood on Snell’s jeans belonged to Jones.
“It was a very small stain,” Castro explained about Snell’s black hoodie.
The defense did not call any witnesses.
District Judge Eli Garza, who is presiding over the case, dismissed jurors until 8:30 a.m. Monday. The jury is expected to hear closing arguments from both sides and then begin deliberating.