As Kwang Chol Joy was being sentenced today to 15 years to life in prison for murdering his roommate and Iraq War veteran Maribel Ramos, he serenaded Orange County Superior Court Judge William Froeberg with a long, rambling statement that professed his innocence, how much he misses the deceased and how so much evidence was kept from jurors that his conviction was an injustice to him and Ramos.
Froberg--he of little bullshit taketh--would have none of it.
"I think I speak for everyone who participated in this trial that justice was done," Froeberg said. "I think I also speak for the family, who I don't think would agree with anything you said other than your coming to California was a mistake."
Lucy Gonzalez, Ramos' sister, told City News Service's Paul Anderson after the sentencing that Joy's comments pissed her off.
"I was extremely angry," she said. "I wish I would have read my victim impact statement which basically said stop lying to yourself. I just wanted to yell at him and say stop lying."
Instead, an emotional Gonzalez struggled to read a statement from her daughter, Iris Giselle Cendejas, who said, in part, "My auntie and my mom made me what I am today. Now that she's gone, I will work 20 times harder to make her proud of me."
She added her life will never be the same.
Kwang Chol "K.C." Joy was convicted in June of second-degree murder in the May 2013 killing of 36-year-old Ramos, an Army veteran who was about to receive a bachelor's in criminology from Cal State Fullerton. Her body was found in Modjeska Canyon, but a cause of death could not be determined because she had been ravaged by animals.
Questioned by police and the media in the days after Ramos went missing, 55-year-old Joy described her as his best friend and the only family he had. Joy claimed he last saw Ramos outside their Orange apartment on May 2, 2013. Her family reported her missing the following day when she did not show up to gathering tied to her looming graduation.
Investigators later learned Ramos had been trying to get Joy to leave their apartment because he was not paying rent. Ironically, she was last seen in surveillance tape going to the rental office to pay rent. It was also discovered she had called 9-1-1 two weeks before she went missing because of strange things Joy told her and that they had been arguing the night before she disappeared.
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Joy's attorney, Adam Vining of the Orange County Public Defender's Office, conceded during the trial that his client killed Ramos in the heat of passion, acted strangely, gave misleading statements to cops and the media and unwittingly pointed searchers to the body, which was discovered May 16, 2013, near Santiago Canyon and Jackson Ranch roads. But that, Vining told jurors in his closing argument, was not proof Joy purposely murdered Ramos.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons told jurors Joy was in love with Ramos, who had a boyfriend, and decided if Joy could not have her, no one would. He was caught through surveillance at a public library researching how long it takes for a human body to decay and how close a search party would be to the burial site, something the prosecutor dubbed "a virtual drive-by" and "the break" that led searchers to the corpse.
That, Simmons maintained, proved a "consciousness of guilt" that allowed for a first degree murder conviction. Jurors split the difference, opting for second degree, which gives Joy the chance for a parole hearing some day.