Two Sarasota men sentenced to 35 years to life in murder case

Co-defendants Davion Lee, left, and Sean Thomas, were sentenced on Friday for their role in the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos.  Lee and Thomas were convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery of a dwelling, and robbery with a firearm.  Lee was sentenced to 35 years in prison.  Thomas was sentenced to life.

Co-defendants Davion Lee, left, and Sean Thomas, were sentenced on Friday for their role in the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos. Lee and Thomas were convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery of a dwelling, and robbery with a firearm. Lee was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Thomas was sentenced to life.

A Sarasota judge on Friday sentenced two men to 35 years and life in prison in connection with the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos.

Co-defendants Davion Lee, 20, and Sean Thomas, 24, were convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery of a home and robbery with a firearm at a jury trial in September 2022.

Lee was sentenced to 35 years in prison on all three counts, as well as five years for violating probation to be served concurrently. Thomas was sentenced to life in prison on all three counts. Both were credited with time served in the Sarasota County Jail.

Since Lee was 16 when the crime was committed, his sentence will be reviewed in 15 years to determine whether he will be released or continue serving his sentence, depending on what was presented to the court.

Davion Lee, right, looks on as Deputy Public Defender Marc Gilman on Friday after Judge Thomas Krug sentenced him to 35 years in prison for the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos.  Lee and co-defendant Sean Thomas were convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery of a home and robbery with a firearm.

Davion Lee, right, looks on as Deputy Public Defender Marc Gilman on Friday after Judge Thomas Krug sentenced him to 35 years in prison for the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos. Lee and co-defendant Sean Thomas were convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery of a home and robbery with a firearm.

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Thomas and Lee, who initially declined to make a statement, spoke at sentencing. Thomas said he felt bad, but would not apologize or show remorse, as his lawyer had suggested, for something he claims he did not do.

Lee explained that the environment he grew up in did not have a good influence on him and he hopes his story will be a cautionary tale for others and inspire them not to follow the same path.

“I’m not a bad boy. I just grew up in the neighborhood,” Lee said, adding that he wasn’t a threat or a monster.

Sean Thomas, right, and his lawyer, Jonathan Hackworth, listen to Judge Thomas Krug as he sentences Thomas to life in prison for the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos.  Thomas and his co-defendant, Davion Lee, were convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery of a dwelling, and robbery with a firearm.

Sean Thomas, right, and his lawyer, Jonathan Hackworth, listen to Judge Thomas Krug as he sentences Thomas to life in prison for the 2019 murder of 26-year-old Christopher Rashad Ramos. Thomas and his co-defendant, Davion Lee, were convicted of first-degree murder, armed robbery of a dwelling, and robbery with a firearm.

Lee and Thomas were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Ramos after Sarasota County deputies accessed health data and GPS coordinates from an iPhone XR seized during the arrest of one of the suspects for an unrelated charge in March 2019, just days after the shooting.

Deputies responded to the shooting in the 2100 block of Banneker Way on March 8, 2019, where they found Ramos dead in a front room with 9mm casings lying on the ground near his body, according to previous reports.

During the trial, Charron Xavier Demarquis Martin, a third suspect arrested in connection with the murder, testified against Lee and Thomas. Martin was convicted in November 2022 of armed robbery of an occupied dwelling with a firearm with assault or battery and committing robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon. Martin’s sentence included time served and 15 years probation.

Assistant State’s Attorney Art Jackman said there was a purpose of punishment and protection of society with the sentences handed down.

“I hope the victim’s family gets some semblance of justice for the loss of a loved one, and that there are consequences for people’s actions when they enter a residence armed with firearms. “, said Jackman.

Assistant State’s Attorney William Greiner added that they believe it was entirely appropriate for Judge Thomas Krug to sentence Thomas to life in prison on each count because he was the apparent ringleader. .

Relatives take a stand

Additional boxes of tissues were brought into the courtroom before the hearing began as the room filled with family and friends of Ramos and Lee. Thomas’ sister came to attend part of the hearing but did not testify because Thomas told her she could go to work, Thomas’ attorney Jonathan Hackworth told the judge.

Greiner called three of Ramos’ relatives to make statements on Friday, including his girlfriend, mother and sister.

At the end of the hearing, he said he felt it was important for the family to have the opportunity to talk about what the loss of Ramos meant to them, especially his mother.

When Teirra Washington, Ramos’ girlfriend, took the witness stand to give her statement, she took several deep breaths to calm herself down, telling the judge she didn’t realize how difficult he was going to be. to come back again. the courtroom.

Washington first addressed Thomas before turning to Lee during his brief stint on the witness stand facing the two men convicted of murdering his partner.

“Wishing you dead would make me like you,” Washington said, and instead wished Thomas imprisoned for life. She added that Lee is no different from Thoms and that she hopes to never see him again.

Previous cover: Jury finds two Sarasota men guilty of murdering 26-year-old man

When Jacqueline Ramos, mother of Christopher Ramos spoke, she was one of 12 people in the room wearing a white T-shirt with photos of her son in a collage and the words “Justice LLR” printed in bold. She later said that “LLR” stands for “Long Live Rissy”, the nickname she affectionately called Christopher.

“I hope you have no mercy for their life because they had no mercy for my son,” Jacqueline Ramos said, echoing her daughter’s sentiment that she hoped neither Thomas nor Lee would walk the streets of Sarasota County again.

Jacqueline Ramos, mother of murder victim Christopher Rashad Ramos, makes a statement in court Friday during the sentencing of the two men convicted of murdering her son.

Jacqueline Ramos, mother of murder victim Christopher Rashad Ramos, makes a statement in court Friday during the sentencing of the two men convicted of murdering her son.

Three of Lee’s family members, including his biological father, younger brother and older sister, each issued a statement on Friday. Everyone offered their condolences to Ramos’ family and friends.

Autumn Lee asked the judge to show leniency to her brother who she says didn’t have a positive male role model growing up and a mother who couldn’t do much. Her younger brother and Davion Lee echoed a similar thought.

Autumn Lee also told her brother during her statement that being in court was a consequence of her own actions.

“I pray it’s a life-changing experience,” she told her brother, adding that she hopes it puts him on the right path.

A special number: “Un 5”

Krystal Ramos, center, sister of Christopher Ramos, hugs Assistant District Attorney William Greiner, as members of Christopher Ramos' family gathered outside the courthouse following the sentencing of Davion Lee and Sean Thomas on Friday.  Christophe Ramos' mother, Jacqueline Ramos is at left.

Krystal Ramos, center, sister of Christopher Ramos, hugs Assistant District Attorney William Greiner, as members of Christopher Ramos’ family gathered outside the courthouse following the sentencing of Davion Lee and Sean Thomas on Friday. Christopher Ramos’ mother, Jacqueline Ramos is at left.

Brief cheers and some applause erupted after Judge Krug’s decision to hand Thomas life in prison before they were calmed down after the judge reminded everyone to keep their cool in the courtroom.

Once outside, the Ramoses hugged Greiner and thanked him for his work. Jacqueline Ramos also thanked the victims’ lawyers and said she was satisfied with the investigators, officers, prosecutors and the judge.

“My son was born on the 15th, he grew up on 15th Street and we were convicted of murder on the 15th,” added Jacqueline Ramos, saying the number is an important part of their family.

Gabriela Szymanowska covers the legal system for the Herald-Tribune in partnership with Report for America. You can support his work with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America. Contact Gabriela Szymanowska at gszymanowska@gannett.com, or on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Two Sarasota men sentenced to 35 years and life in prison for murder in 2019

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