Ramos requests bench trial

GOSHEN — A man charged with murder in connection with a Goshen double homicide waived his rights for a jury trial and asked for bench trial in Elkhart County Circuit Court Thursday.

Diego A. Ramos, 23, Elkhart, was charged in the deaths of Jose Nava-Orozco, 27, and Marco Carmona-Gonzalez, 43. The two victims were shot to death shortly after 5 a.m. March 13 at their home at 497 Brookside Manor in Goshen. Police indicated after the shootings they believe the murders were gang-related.

Ramos’ attorney Peter Todd told Judge Terry Shewmaker his client asked for a bench trial.

The judge questioned Ramos several times on the decision to waive his rights for his upcoming jury trial set for Nov. 14.

“Are you asking me to decide if you are guilty or innocent?” Shewmaker asked.

“Yes, your honor,” Ramos said.

Shewmaker agreed to hear the case in a bench trial set for Dec. 19.

Ramos’ co-defendant, Luis Alberto Rivas, 20, Goshen, had been charged with the deaths of Nava-Orozco and Carmona-Gonzalez. A plea deal was accepted in court July 18 between defense attorney David Francisco and Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vicki Becker.

Rivas’ plea deal called for the dismissal of two murder charges against him and for him to serve a sentence of six years in the state prison system on the assisting a criminal charge and then serve another six years after that on the gang enhancement charge. Shewmaker sentenced Rivas during a hearing Aug. 25.

The assisting a criminal charge is due to Rivas admitting he helped Ramos burn clothing after the murder.

Other Circuit Court proceedings

An Illinois man charged with murder appeared for a status conference hearing Thursday morning.

Tyrell Beavers, 19, Plainfield, Illinois, has been charged with the death of 24-year-old Brandon Jackson of Elkhart, who was found shot to death June 23 at 207 West Garfield Ave. in Elkhart.

Beavers’ attorney Clifford Williams asked Shewmaker to set a futher proceedings hearing for Monday at 10 a.m. to enter a plea agreement.

Beavers was arrested by Elkhart police July 1 after an autopsy was conducted by Elkhart County Coroner John White and the cause of death was determined to be multiple gunshot wounds. White ruled Jackson’s death as a homicide.

Beavers remains in custody at the Elkhart County jail. No bond has been set in his case.

If convicted, Beavers could be sentenced up to 65 years in prison with a $10,000 fine.

Follow Sherry Van Arsdall on Twitter at @svanarsdall_TGN.

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