Marissa Martinez, a former Victoria resident, suspected Raheem Jones had bad intentions when he met Vonsell Ramirez to buy drugs, she testified Thursday.
“(Jones) was holding a steering wheel lock,” Martinez recounted. “We knew he had bad intentions with it.”
Martinez, 21, was subpoenaed to testify during the third day of the capital murder trial of Jones, 22. He is accused of wielding a glass bottle and slashing the 18-year-old victim’s throat three years ago. Martinez, Jones and Braylen Snell are accused of Ramirez’s 2016 murder. Martinez was released on a $50,000 bond Aug. 9, 2016.
Martinez testified that Jones and Snell were speaking in the backseat of her red truck, and Jones was worried about the amount of drugs he had ordered from Ramirez. She said Jones didn’t want to seem suspicious because he intended to rob Ramirez.
Defense attorney Micah Hatley during cross examination tried to get Martinez to provide details about what she heard. He objected several times to Martinez’s testimony, arguing that she was giving hearsay evidence.
“I don’t remember the exact words of the conversation,” Martinez explained on the stand.
When they arrived at Ramirez’s home, Jones got out of the pickup with a steering wheel lock, Martinez testified. She and Snell took it from Jones before he encountered Ramirez, she said.
Martinez said she never saw a glass bottle or the altercation that happened near her truck’s tailgate.
“I heard a loud noise and Braylen said, ‘Oh, sh--, drive,’” she testified. “It sounded like glass breaking.”
Jones got into the rear passenger seat before Martinez fled the scene. She dropped her friends off and was heading home when police pulled her over. It was then she realized there was blood on her back bumper.
Defense attorney Micah Hatley attempted to establish a specific timeline from Martinez, but she couldn’t recall exact times. She did recall smoking marijuana throughout the night.
District Judge Eli Garza, who is presiding over the trial, granted Martinez immunity Thursday so her testimony could not be used against her in a separate trial. No other arrangements were promised to Martinez, such as a lighter sentence if convicted, for her testimony.
Martinez, who now lives in the Houston area, was present with her defense attorney George Filley III, who is the father of Victoria County Criminal District Attorney Constance Filley Johnson, a reason she excused herself from the Jones murder trial.
Special Victoria County prosecutor Edward Wilkinson called six witnesses Thursday, including Victoria police officials. Wilkinson said he plans to call two more witnesses Friday before wrapping up the state’s case against Jones.
During earlier testimony, DeTar Hospital Navarro emergency room physician Dr. James Poplawsky testified that Ramirez was unresponsive when the victim arrived at the hospital early June 8, 2016.
“There was no sign of life when the patient arrived,” Poplawsky said.
The capital murder trial of Raheem Jones continues into day three. The prosecution continues presenting its case and has called two witnesses so far. Be sure to keep following me and @Vicadvocate for updates pic.twitter.com/GKB6tw83vJ— Samantha Douty (@SamanthaDouty) September 26, 2019
Forensic pathologist Danielo Perez conducted Ramirez’s autopsy and testified that toxicology reports confirmed that Ramirez had marijuana and either Xanax or Valium in his system when he died.
In his report, he found Ramirez sustained two incise wounds, which means they were longer than they were deep – one to the face and the other to the neck.
The wound on the neck was the fatal blow and caused the victim to bleed out through the jugular vein, which was 1.8 centimeters below Ramirez’s skin.
Perez testified that the wounds were lined up and motioned to his face in a slashing motion.
“You can say it’s from one continuous motion,” he said.