After eight years of waiting, the family of murder victim Susan Amos-Bravo received resolution, Friday, when Ramon Bravo, 37, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder for the slaying of his estranged wife.
The incident took place on April 26, 2003. Special Prosecutor Matt Chandler said, â€œShe returned from a T-ball game, went into her house and was never seen alive again.â€
He discussed the marriage and repeated incidents of the domestic abuse. â€œIt was a classic case of overkill and then he (Bravo) staged the scene to humiliate and to mislead investigators.â€
Chandler spoke about the history of the case, initially brought against Bravo by 5th District Court in November 2003, and the civil suit filed by the family against Bravo for wrongful death, which they won.
The civil suit provided enough evidence that Chandler was brought in from the 9th Judicial District to prosecute the case.
Judge Ralph D. Shamas advised Bravo of his rights, asked if understood the plea agreement he had signed and inquired if he wanted to relinquish his right to a jury trial. Bravo said he did.
Shamas then asked Defense Attorney S. Doug Jones Witt if he believed his client were guilty, to which he replied, â€œAfter disclosure with the evidence available and certain testimony against Bravo that the state could make a prima facie case on the charges of murder.â€
The testimony to which Witt Jones referred was the contested jailhouse confession Bravo made to Donald C. Prince, testimony taped during a civil case brought against Bravo for the wrongful death of Amos- Bravo by her family. Prince testified that Bravo said, â€œ… she (Susan) had made him so mad for making him kill her. … She was dead before he stabbed her.
He just went off and he must have stabbed her 150 times.â€ Chandler referred to the murder as a â€œbloody, heinous crime,â€ and recounted the statement of police investigator John Meredith who described the crime scene as one of the worst he had seen.
Chandler recreated the scene. â€œHe came out of the closet and we firmly believe he used the cord from the iron to strangle her, released it and tortured her … then he sliced her throat.â€
The family had its chance to speak before sentencing. Before the hearing, Dolly Bravo told the Daily Record that she hoped that this was the end. In earlier hearings, prosecutor Kirk Chaves, standing in for Chandler, said that the family had been subjected to harassment, intimidation and threats by Bravo. In the end, sister Sonia Clark said she had found it in her heart to forgive Bravo for what he had done. The victimâ€™s mother Dolly Amos, who found her daughterâ€™s body, described her as a helpful child. â€œI remember when she was baptized. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw her lying on the floor…She was so white, so stiff.
I knew she was dead and I knew there would be no more suffering. Sheâ€™s not going to suf fer any more.â€ Amos concluded, â€œThe memory of her will live on in her children and in our memories.â€
Bravo was given a chance to say something and refused. Shamas sentenced Bravo to 15 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections with 3 years suspended.
Bravo must serve 85 percent, or 12 years, of his imposed sentence in prison as the crime is deemed a serious violent offense under New Mexico law. Upon his release, Bravo will be placed on 3 years of intensive supervised parole.