One of two men arrested in the savage rape and hammer slaying of a military veteran was an illegal immigrant with a long record who had been arrested and released a few days before the attack.
Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez is accused of beating and raping a 64-year-old woman from Santa Maria, California. Ramirez is in the country illegally, police said. The woman, Marilyn Pharis, died Saturday, eight days after she was brutally beaten with a hammer and then sexually assaulted at her Santa Maria home.
According to the Santa Barbara News-Press, Victor Aureliano Martinez Ramirez, 29, who’s charged along with Jose Fernando Villagomez, 20, in the attack, was on probation for committing battery against a woman and methamphetamine possession in May 2014.
He was also charged twice this year for violating probation, once for possessing a concealed knife and the other for drugs. A Santa Barbara judge allowed him to enter a substance abuse center in Santa Maria instead of sentencing Ramirez to jail time.
Police captured Martinez at another home in the 1000 block of West Donovan shortly after Pharis was assaulted that evening.
Santa Maria Police say the fact that Martinez is an undocumented illegal immigrant does not matter as they continue to investigate the case.
“We have a citizen that lost her life, its serious, when you look at it, we don’t care what the circumstances were, we’re going to do what we need to do to get our facts and bring this individual to justice”, says SMPD Commander Kendall Greene, “if there are extenuating circumstances that arise as a result of that, that he’s an undocumented immigrant, then we will let the proper authorities address those issues when they present themselves.”
Martinez is in Santa Barbara County Jail on current charges of attempted murder, sexual assault and residential burglary and his bail is set at more than one million dollars.
On August 4, police charged a second man, 20-year-old Jose Villagomez, with sexual assault and attempted murder in connection to the attack.