MERIDEN — A man convicted in connection with the murder of a local 16-year-old in 1997 filed a motion seeking to be released from custody because of health problems.
Ronald Pagan was convicted, along with Ruben Feliciano and Nelson Gonzalez, in connection with the killing of Edwin Ramos on March 25, 1997 in a gang dispute. All were members of the Los Solidos gang, prosecutors said. Ramos’ body was found in St. Stanislaus Cemetery.
Pagan and Feliciano were convicted on charges of murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, and carrying a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence.
Pagan filed a motion for “compassionate release” — citing his health conditions, which include severe asthma, hypercholesterolemia and chronic rhinitis. The motion cites the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the facility where he is currently held. The federal government filed a response to the motion, opposing his release. There was a hearing on Thursday held via video conferencing. Judge Janet Hall had not ruled on the motion as of Friday afternoon.
Terence Ward, Pagan’s attorney, said they are seeking compassionate release based on Pagan’s age at the time of the offense, his medical conditions, the pandemic and the length of time he has already served. Hall pointed out that the statutes Pagan was convicted under carry a mandatory life sentence. Pagan spoke during the hearing, apologizing for his actions in 1997.
“It’s been a long 23 years for me,” Pagan said during the hearing via phone. “A lot of lives got affected and changed by the senseless act I committed.”
Pagan said while it wasn’t an excuse, he was living under the influence of drugs, alcohol and the gang life. He said his years in prison have taught him the value of life.
Feliciano was the shooter, prosecutors said at the time of the sentencing. The three defendants killed Ramos because he sold a gun to the Latin Kings, a rival gang. Pagan and Feliciano picked Ramos up and drove him to the cemetery in Meriden, where Feliciano shot him once in the head, killing him. Later, Pagan returned to the scene, removed Ramos’ clothing and poured detergent and other material around the scene in an effort to destroy any forensic evidence, prosecutors said.
At the sentencing Ramos’ mother, Haydee Ayala, told Feliciano and Pagan that she is sad over the loss of her child, but she forgives them.
Judge Peter Dorsey sentenced Feliciano and Pagan, expressing anger about the senseless crime.
“You took away someone’s life as far as the jury’s concerned,” he said to Feliciano in 1999. “You had no right to do that. Dorsey also said this was “brutal and coarse kind of action you would expect from an animal.” Dorsey made similar remarks to Pagan.
“Life is the penalty that’s prescribed,” said Peter Kelly, Pagan’s attorney, about the sentencing guidelines at the time. “I have no opinion on it.”