If you recall this post, back in April, my family was in a state of shock. As unbelievable as it still seems when I think about it, the reality is really setting in - and I miss my uncle very much. I miss seeing him, I miss laughing and joking with him, I miss him interacting with my kids, especially Landon. Landon still doesn't really understand, but he still asks about Uncle Richie quite a bit. All they would do when they were together was joke, laugh, punch, one another. Uncle Richie was notorious to be the instigator and sit back and laugh. A laugh I long to hear so badly.
My grandma lost her youngest of five children, her baby. Her child. My aunt Michi, lost her high school sweetheart. They would have celebrated 20 years of marriage this past July 8th. My cousins lost their strongest mentor, their father. And the list continues. A very long list continues and trickles to everyone who knew and loved him.
The reason for this post is to shed a little light to those who are interested how screwed up our justice system is. I know legislature is written, and we need to stand by and abide by the law. But, now, I question - why? I'm not going to go out and commit acts to challenge the law, I just wonder what kind of image we are giving youth.
Facts regarding this case:
- My uncle was on his own property, walking to retrieve his mail.
- Alfredo Antonio Ramirez hit and killed him, and ran.
- Witness saw Alfredo drive recklessly, run stop signs/lights, speed and 'stagger' blocks away as he went to inspect damage to his vehicle (aka his weapon of choice)
- Alfredo turned himself in days later (we believe to evade signs of alcohol in his system)
- Alfredo was TEXTING before, during and after the incident (records prove this)
- His family lied to authorities
- Alfredo was NOT remorseful, and judge even made a point in court about it
... and the list continues with SO much more incriminating information.
Alfredo Antonio Ramirez's punishment:
2 years in state prison, 3-4 yrs parole and restitution paid to the family
This equals approx 288 days actual time served. He will be walking amongst us as a citizen, next year.
You can read the Daily Bulletin article that made front cover detailing this past Tuesday.
My uncle died in 2009, and the man who took his life in such a senseless manner will be free in 2010. This past Tuesday, July 22, was the sentencing. We knew ahead of time the max would be 2 years, there was a possibility of him just getting probation. I will save the details of the court, and the heartwrenching testimony from my grandma, aunt and 2 cousins. Basically, the judge imposed the most he could given the plea bargain, 2 year max, etc. The judge actually brought forth details of the fateful night that he did not know prior to offering the plea bargain. He also acknowledged the families pain, and informed us Antonio does not seem remorseful, which was obvious. He also read over 100 impact statement letters we all wrote, including friends of how his death has impacted us.
A slap on the wrist for such a terrible crime. Alfredo had many choices that evening. He continued to choose the wrong ones. Choices that have forever changed the lives of so many. I don't understand how posession of marijuana, selling of marijuana, drugs, etc.. can bring a higher sentence than a LIFE taken. One of God's creations, as my aunt stated it. My uncle was a beautiful person, inside and out and he is worth much more than the punishment that is being given to the person who took his beautiful life. It's still so raw, and upsetting, and now after the sentencing, I see how our system works. And, sorry, but it sucks.
I do know however what punishment does not get met here through our system, will one day be met. I truly believe that. Until then, our family will be a voice to try to get some changes with our system. Because we are not the first, and sadly, not the last. The strict punishment comes when someone has killed 2, 3 or even 4 people on seperate occasions. Alfredo will be out one day, and he is a threat because of the lack of remorse. Odds are, he will be back in prison. And that is such a shame.
Uncle Richie, you are loved and missed! My kids will know you through my stories, and my pictures and my videos of you and that breaks my heart.
Fun times w/ 2 aunts, 1 uncle and a load of cousins! This was taken just this past January '09. My uncle is in the hat.
This is a pic of me and my dad and Troy. I am sharing this with you because this was the last day I saw my uncle, and from what I hear, the last day many of us family members saw him. We all spent the day at the racetrack, and close to 48 hours later, my uncle was taken from us. I was so happy on this day, my dad was happy, and we were all together. My grandfather's death was still so fresh for my dad and my aunts and uncles. It was a good day, and the last picture on my camera before our lives turned upside down 2 days later. It's kind of the 'old us' in a way if that makes sense. We are the same, but changed. Sadly I didn't get a pic of my uncle on this day, but I have the memory of this day, and our last hug.
Hold your family longer when giving hugs. I wish I had. It also reminds me to please look over the petty, and embrace the time you have with your loved ones.
We love you Unlce Richie, you will never be forgotten, or less treasured.
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." - Martin Luther King Jr.