Ramirez v. GeorgiaAnnotate this Case
Juan Ramirez was convicted of felony murder and other crimes in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Justin Acevedo. Ileanna Martinez and Itzel Jimenez (Acevedo’s girlfriend and also a friend of a Sandra Boyzo, a mutual acquaintance of both Martinez and Jimenez) exchanged a series of heated Facebook messages regarding a dispute between Martinez and Jimenez. At the center of the dispute was Martinez’s alleged insult of Jimenez’s friend Boyzo, and the result of these messages was that Jimenez planned to meet Martinez at Martinez’s apartment to fight. Martinez was at Ramirez’s apartment while Martinez and Jimenez sent the Facebook messages, and Ramirez told Martinez that he would accompany her to her apartment “because he didn’t want nobody to jump [her]” in the anticipated fight. When Ramirez and Martinez arrived at Martinez’s apartment complex, they encountered the other group, whose members were standing on the opposite side of the street. At that point, Ramirez told Martinez not to cross the street. There were multiple accounts about what Acevedo said to Ramirez at that point. It was undisputed that in response to Acevedo’s statement or statements, Ramirez fired, and the bullet struck Acevedo in the chest, killing him. Except for Contreras, who claimed that the gun was pointed “directly towards us” when Ramirez shot, the statements of the other witnesses were consistent that Ramirez was instead pointing the gun down toward the street when he fired, and that the bullet ricocheted up and struck Acevedo. On appeal, Ramirez contended his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance by withdrawing a request to instruct the jury on mutual combat. After review of the trial court record, the Georgia Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed.