Gay Couple May Face Death Penalty for Fatal Beating
Two accused killers--a gay couple who claim to be domestic partners--could face the death penalty if convicted in the murder of a woman who was stabbed multiple times and beaten in her mobile home.
Cynthia Ramos was killed at her home in Tracy, California, last Aug. 6. A forensic pathologist found that Ramos, 58, had been stabbed 55 times, bludgeoned more than a dozen times, and strangled, reported San Joaquin County newspaper the Reporter in a Jan. 9 article.
Jorge and Robert Morgan, 24 and 39 respectively, were supposed to kept apart to prevent them from engaging in sexual activity while incarcerated, but the men ended up being housed in the same cell for a two-day period, the article said. The policy of keeping the couple apart despite their status as registered domestic partners was the result of a federal law, the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Even if the men were not life partners, they should have been kept in separate cells because they are co-defendants, the article noted. The men are also transported in separate vehicles when they are moved. However, the paid have sought to be allowed to be together given that they are domestic partners, a Sept. 25 article at corrections blog PacoVilla said. The men spent their one-year anniversary as domestic partners incarcerated in separate cells.
The policy is to keep codefendants apart so that they will not injure one another or plot together to injure staff or escape; however, Roger Morgan contested this, and claimed that anti-gay bias was behind the enforced separation, saying in a Nov. 1 Record article, "I just want to fight my case. I can’t do that alone," and insisting that neither man was a threat to the safety of the other. "All we want to do is get out and have a life together," Morgan said, adding that the men sought a chance to confer on their defense, not opportunities for conjugal activity. "It’s not a sex thing. Don’t get me wrong," he told the media. "We love each other."
However, the article said, the claim that the two are domestic partners is unclear; no record of their partnership seems to exist, and their partnership supposedly became official more than a week after voters in California approved Proposition 8, which rescinded marriage rights for gay and lesbian families in the state.
But Morgan insisted, ""He’s my heart. He’s my soul. He’s my everything."
Morgan claimed that while he and Jorge Morgan are innocent, he knows who the perpetrator is. However, he refused to disclose a name to the press.
The pair could face the death penalty if convicted, given not only the vicious nature of the slaying, but also charges of lying in wait, robbery, and burglary.