GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Common Pleas Judge D. Dean Evans handed down a life sentence on Monday morning with eligibility of parole after 25 full years are served to a Gallia County man charged with the murder of his wife.
David A. Ramey, 39, Vinton, entered a guilty plea to one count of aggravated murder on Monday, acknowledging his guilt in the death of his wife, Stephanie R. Ramey, 28, on February 15.
The defendant was arrested and taken into custody by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office on the day of the incident after he left the scene of the incident at a residence on Hartsook Road near the Village of Vinton.
On the morning of the shooting, the defendant reportedly entered the residence where his wife, as well as his mother, Barbara Ramey, were residing. He entered his a bedroom of the home, and, reportedly, shot the victim twice, once in the abdomen and once in the head. Ramey then took the cord out of the telephone while warning his mother — who was present during the shooting and later testified during a preliminary hearing in this case — that he would kill her if she called law enforcement. The defendant then left the scene in a red truck.
Reportedly, Barbara Ramey used an alternate phone to call 911 and emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene just prior to 8 a.m. on February 15. Stephanie Ramey was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect was later taken into custody by Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning following a traffic stop in Bidwell. A .38 special revolver was later seized from Ramey’s vehicle. Two spent shells were found in the weapon.
Reportedly, Ramey later admitted to an investigating agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, who was assisting deputies in the investigation of this case, that he believed that his wife was having an extra-marital affair.
In March, Ramey pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated murder, one count of murder, both special category felonies, and one count of disrupting public service, a fourth degree felony.
A proposed plea was filed with the common pleas court earlier this month and, during Monday’s hearing, the negotiated plea agreement was read by the court with both the state and the defense indicating their wish to enter into said agreement.
As a stipulation of the plea agreement, the State of Ohio, represented by Gallia County Assistant Prosecutor Britt Wiseman, dismissed counts two and three of the indictment, murder and disrupting public service, respectively, as well as a gun specification as to count one, aggravated murder.
During the hearing, the court accepted Ramey’s plea and, in light of the plea agreement, proceeded to sentence the defendant to life imprisonment with a chance of parole after a full 25 years are served in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Following the hearing, Sheriff Joe Browning, a representative of the victim in this case, commented on the plea agreement process and his hope that the sentence will bring some amount of closure for Stephanie Ramey’s family.
“The prosecutor’s office put a lot of work into preparing to prosecute the case and once they were able to talk with Stephanie’s family and get some input from them, I think that the agreement that the prosecutor was able to work out with the defense attorney saved them from having to go through a trial,” Browning said. “Trials are never easy for family members of victims, and, once they agreed to life after 25 years, I think that probably brought it to a resolution that everybody was as comfortable as possible with. Hopefully that will bring some closure, or, at least, start the process of healing for Stephanie’s family.”
The possible penalties for aggravated murder are life imprisonment without parole and life imprisonment with parole eligibility after serving 20 years, 25 years or 30 years of imprisonment, respectively.
Ramey has remained in the Gallia County Jail since his arrest on February 15 under a $1 million, 10 percent bond. He will be transported to a state correctional facility.