Woman involved in 2016 Gage Park massacre pleads guilty to armed robbery
Jafeth Ramos was charged with 493 counts that ranged from murder to residential burglary, but she isn’t believed to have participated in the killing.
A woman accused of being involved in a horrific massacre of six people in Gage Park nearly six years ago has pleaded guilty to armed robbery in connection with that incident — but her sentencing is being delayed until after the trial of her boyfriend at the time, who is accused of committing the murders.
According to a spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, Jafeth Ramos submitted her plea agreement last month. She was to appear before a judge Monday, but did not because she was quarantined. It was unclear, however, if she had contracted COVID-19 herself or had been in contact with someone who tested positive.
The spokesperson declined to comment on the case or provide details of the plea agreement.
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According to prosecutors, on Feb. 2, 2016, Ramos and Diego Uribe Cruz spent hours socializing with Maria Herminia Martinez and her family before one of the more gruesome killings in recent city history. What is believed to have started as a burglary ended with six people dead, including two boys.
The victims were: Martinez, 32; her sons, Leonardo Cruz, 13, and Alexis Cruz, 10; her parents, Rosaura Martinez, 58, and Noe Martinez, 62; and her brother Noe Martinez Jr., 38.
Ramos was charged with 493 counts, ranging from murder to residential burglary, but she isn’t believed to have participated in the killing.
The prosecutor on Monday asked Ramos’ sentencing be postponed until after Uribe Cruz’s trial, though a date for that trial has not been set. Uribe Cruz has a status hearing Wednesday.
Prosecutors have laid out this version of events:
Uribe Cruz came to the bungalow in the 5700 block of South California Avenue with the intention of robbing the Martinez family. Uribe Cruz was the nephew of Herminia Martinez’s ex-husband.
According to prosecutors, Uribe Cruz told police he had a “lot of anger” at how she treated his uncle and started his murderous rampage by shooting her after he asked her to go upstairs so they could talk. Uribe Cruz pulled out a gun and demanded she put money into a bag, then shot her when she refused.
Hearing the shot, Noel Martinez Jr. ran up the stairs, but Uribe Cruz beat him with his gun, punched him and choked him, according to prosecutors. He would also push Rosaura Martinez, matriarch of the family, down the stairs and then stab her multiple times.
During this time, prosecutors have alleged, Uribe Cruz attempted to ransack the home for money, jewelry, an Xbox One gaming system and cell phones. The two defendants would later break the Xbox One and cell phone.
Uribe Cruz would also drive a knife into his 13-year-old and 10-year-old cousins, despite their pleas that he spare them, according to prosecutors, who also said he waited for the elder Noe Martinez Sr. to return from buying treats for the family, then stabbed him three times in the stomach.
Ramos, 19 at the time, told police she helped Uribe Cruz clean up the blood and also mopped and wiped down the doorknobs.
She did all this, prosecutors said, because she didn’t want to leave evidence behind that would take her boyfriend away from her.
DNA left at the crime scene and phone records helped lead to the charges, but the case was complicated when it came to light that Chicago police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents spent weeks investigating a tip that the murder might have been connected to the Juarez Cartel.
An informant had shared that Herminia Martinez’s husband, “Chino,” had run off with a 250-kilogram drug shipment, according to a motion filed by Uribe Cruz’s public defender. The informant said the “killers/enforcers” for the cartel was headed to Chicago to “take care of business.
Uribe Cruz’s public defender has fought for this information to be released at trial.