Man found guilty of Amsterdam double murder
Updated 9:16 p.m.
AMSTERDAM Ivan Ramos faces life in prison following his conviction Friday on two counts of first-degree murder.
Following a two-week trial, a Montgomery County Court jury found Ramos guilty in the March 2, 2012 killings of Cheryl Goss, 46, and William McDermott, 56.
The jury deliberated for about five hours before rendering a guilty verdict on the murder counts and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
Family members of the victims sat through several days of gruesome testimony that included videos of the bloody crime scene and other blood-soaked evidence left in McDermott’s Locust Avenue apartment in Amsterdam. Both victims bled to death after the early-morning assault. District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy during the trial said both victims were “stabbed, slashed top to bottom, both of their throats slit.”
Goss’ daughter Hope Faboskay, who believed Ramos was guilty the day her mother was found, said later Friday, “I hope he gets murdered the same way my mother got murdered.”
Her sister, Kelly Faboskay, said the trial was worse than reliving the days after the murders because of the level of detail presented to the jury. “I seen everything as if I was to find the bodies myself,” she said in tears.
Both expressed appreciation for the work Amsterdam police and other police agencies did during the investigation.
McDermott’s brother, Kevin McDermott, commented for the family: “We’re very satisfied with the results.”
Corrections and court guards and deputies surrounded Ramos as the jury’s verdict was read. He was held in handcuffs and leg shackles after a request by Conboy.
Conboy told County Court Judge Felix Catena corrections guards overheard Ramos say he planned to “exercise some violence against his attorney” if the verdict didn’t go his way.
Ramos sat quietly as the verdict was read, and muttered “it’s all circumstantial” as he was led out of the courtroom.
Three people believed to be Ramos’ relatives — one of whom began to sob when the verdict was read — attended the trial.
They left the court facility without comment.
Ramos’ defense attorney, Mark Juda, declined to comment.
Before starting deliberations, jurors heard Juda try to discredit the investigation and raise doubt about Ramos’ guilt.
Juda described McDermott’s apartment as a “drug haven” with numerous people in and out and labeled McDermott as a drug dealer.
He said one witness, Craig McCormick, who was among those partying in McDermott’s apartment, compromised evidence when he returned to the scene in the early morning to find the victims.
“At best, he clearly contaminated the scene,” Juda said.
Juda suggested police didn’t gather DNA evidence from others who were at the home in the hours before the murders, “because Mr. Ramos was their man. They didn’t bother looking at anyone else.”
Juda called into question the authenticity of Ramos’ handprints found in McDermott’s blood on furniture, suggesting the lead investigator was under a “tremendous amount of pressure” to make sure the prints matched Ramos.
Juda said none of the forensic evidence was submitted to private laboratories and he questioned why Ramos, who was arrested on an unrelated charge hours after police discovered the victims, didn’t have the victims’ DNA beneath his fingernails.
Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy, in closing arguments that followed Juda’s, outlined the timeline of events witnesses testified to as well as evidence at the scene and science he said proved Ramos was the killer.
Conboy also highlighted several pieces of evidence found in the apartment that tied Ramos to the murders. They included Ramos’ handprint in McDermott’s blood in two separate locations and Ramos’ blood on a crack pipe inside a bedroom dresser that was closed when police began processing the crime scene.
Investigators also found a pair of black Nike sneakers that matched a single pair of footprints that led out the home’s back door. Around those footprints, in several spots, police found droplets of Ramos’ blood.
The Nike sneakers, when police found them, had chunks of the sole cut off of them.
“Someone has carved away the outsides of the soles of those sneakers. Why would someone deface a perfectly good pair of Nike sneakers?” Conboy asked.
Police also found a bag containing freshly-laundered clothing, including a pair of gray sweat pants witnesses said Ramos wore the day of the crime. The sweats were not dried; Conboy said Ramos’ relative didn’t have a drier.
When asked by police what he was wearing the night of the crime, Ramos said he wore a Carhart jacket and jeans. But several witnesses said he wore a camouflage jacket and gray sweat pants.
When police pressed Ramos about where the camouflage jacket was, he told investigators he’d sold it to a person named “Nutters.”
But investigators found another witness who said “Nutters” is a fictional character.
“Nutters does not exist,” Conboy said.
Ramos’ own words, Conboy told the jury, were damning evidence.
One witness who was with Ramos and others at the police station overheard Ramos telling another he’d give police the murder weapon in exchange for 100 percent immunity.
At that point, Conboy said it was unclear why Ramos was even talking about a weapon and why he’d need any immunity. At the time, he was facing a charge of possessing stolen property.
A recorded telephone call Ramos made to his mother from jail, Conboy said, was “as close to a confession as you’re going to get.”
Ramos asked his mother if she would hate him if he committed the crime. His mother said she didn’t believe he’d committed the crime, and Ramos said “what if I did” and told his mother he didn’t want his children to hate him.
Conboy after the verdict said “there are no winners here.”
“I have two families that will never be whole because of his actions,” Conboy said.
Conboy described the case as a classic example of multiple law enforcement agencies working together, including the Amsterdam police, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department and State Police.
He said police put together “such an overwhelming amount of evidence that I was very confident throughout this trial there was more than enough proof to convict him.”