Thursday , May 23 2024

Suspect in Janessa Ramirez Murder Surrenders and is Released

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A suspect in the murder of 9-year-old Janessa Ramirez surrenders to police. And then is released. <br /><br />This is the second person who has been named a suspect in the case but not charged.<br /><br />Janessa was shot and killed on January 18th in northwest Fresno.<br /><br />Police say she was struck by a stray bullet from a shootout between rival gang members.<br /><br />Earlier this month, police issued an arrest warrant for 21-year-old Donte Hawkins, wanted in Janessa’s murder. He was considered a fugitive, on the run.<br /><br />Fresno police say Hawkins showed up at police headquarters around noon on Wednesday and turned himself in. Police issued a statement saying Hawkins had been released and not booked on murder charges.<br /><br />It’s not the first time a suspect in the case has been released.<br /><br />Isaac Stafford was released from the Fresno County jail February 2nd. He’d been arrested in the murder of Janessa Ramirez. But the district attorney’s office did not file charges against the 19-year-old and he was set free.<br /><br />A little more than three weeks later, a similar case. 21-year-old Donte Hawkins named a suspect in Janessa’s murder, but not arrested.<br /><br />&quot;Because this is such a high profile case and it is such an emotionally drawn case for our community, I suspect the prosecutor’s office and the police department are working together very closely on it,&quot; said Fresno defense attorney Charles Magill.<br /><br />Police had said that Stafford was one of the people involved in a gunfight near Marks and Clinton in northwest Fresno on January 18th. <br />A shootout between rival gang members.<br />A stray bullet travelled the length of three football fields and struck and killed Janessa as she stood with her mother in front of a laundromat.<br /><br />22-year-old Brian Cooks was arrested. Police say he confessed to firing the shot that killed Janessa.<br />Isaac Stafford was also taken into custody… but released two days later.<br />Shortly after Stafford’s release, Donte Hawkins was named a suspect.<br /><br />Legal analyst and defense attorney Charles Magill says prosecutors may not want to try Cooks and the other alleged gunman together.<br /><br />&quot;It would be much easier for a defense if the two were being prosecuted together, for murder, to point to the gentleman that was released and say he was the actual cause of all the conflict and I was just acting in self-defense,&quot; Magill said.<br /><br />Police have not said *why* hawkins was released, just that the investigation is continuing.<br />The district attorney’s office did not have any comment either.<br /></div>

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