FONDA – A jury found murder defendant Ivan Ramos guilty of all charges Friday in Montgomery County Court.
Ramos, 30, of Amsterdam was accused of stabbing and killing William McDermott, 56, and Cheryl Goss, 46, on March 2 at McDermott’s 359 Locust Ave. apartment in Amsterdam.
After a little more than an hour and a half of deliberation, District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy approached members of the McDermott family.
“We have the verdict,” he whispered.
The jury found Ramos guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
As the jury read off the verdict, a relative of Ramos began to openly cry in court. Ramos stayed silent, sitting with handcuffs and leg restraints on.
Both family members of McDermott and Goss sighed as the verdict was read. Some family members cried, while others sounded happy about the verdict.
Sarah McDermott, daughter of William McDermott, was pleased.
“There is really relief for justice to be served for the victims,” McDermott said.
Hope Fabowskay, daughter of Goss, said both families were glad to see justice done.
When asked what came next for the families, Faboskay shrugged.
“Finding peace and closure,” she said.
Unanswered questions are still there for some, such as a motive for the crime.
“That’s something I really want to know,” Faboskay said. “Why?”
Conboy said that this case was a classic example of the effort of Amsterdam Police, New York State Police, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, who he said worked hard recovering the evidence that helped close the case.
“I hope this verdict brings the families closer to having closure,” Conboy said.
During the trial, expert witnesses testified Ramos’ blood, DNA and fingerprints were found at the murder scene.
Jury deliberations began early Friday after closing statements. The prosecution, led by Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy, rested Thursday. Ramos’ attorney called no defense witnesses.
Defense Attorney Mark Juda started the closing statements Friday. He said Locust Avenue is a known drug haven, “where all sorts of people smoke crack.”
He said it was believed McDermott was selling drugs at his apartment so people were constantly in and out of that location.
Juda argued Ramos was at the Woodrow Road area around 4:30 a.m., which did not leave enough time for him to be at the other locations the prosecution placed him at.
In his closing statement, Conboy argued that while there may be inconsistencies between witnesses testimony at times, there is nothing inconsistent about the surveillance video obtained from Sikorski’s Service Station, First Niagara Bank and Dunkin Donuts. The video show a larger man, believed to be Ramos, walking the street in the clothes that he was said to be wearing.
Juda also said Craig McCormick contaminated the evidence when he entered the apartment and questioned why he wouldn’t call authorities sooner rather than waiting until 6 a.m. to do so and not calling authorities himself.
Conboy said McCormick’s story has remained the same through the whole process and can be backed by video surveillance. He also pointed out that McCormick later took police to the exact location he tossed the potholder used to unlock the front door deadbolt.
Juda questioned how what has been described as a bloody scene would leave no DNA from either of the victims on the shoes that were recovered.
“Somebody has to pay for these deaths, but there is not proof beyond reasonable doubt implicating Ramos,” Juda said.
Conboy said Ramos carved away the outside of the sneakers that were recovered by police because they had DNA that would have placed him at the crime.
Juda reiterated several times that the cops didn’t look into anyone else as a suspect, “because they already had their guy.”
“Ramos was their man from the very beginning, and they didn’t bother to look at anyone else as a potential suspect,” Juda said.
Conboy said a police dog tracked the steps believed to be Ramos to just “a stones throw from Woodrow Road” before losing the track because of school children gathered.
According to the New York State penal code, Ramos would face 15 years to life in prison.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 20.
Reporter Levi?Pascher contributed to this story.