Ryan Ramirez’s life sentence without parole, recently affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court, is supported by the horrific fact that he tortured a toddler resulting in the child’s death.
Paisley Hudson was only 23 months old when she died from multiple blunt force injuries at Ramirez’s hands.
Paisley’s death on July 28, 2018, followed weeks of abuse suffered also by her brother Riley, a protective 3-year-old who would stand in front of Paisley if it looked like she was going to be punished.
THE SIBLING’S PHYSICAL punishment by Ramirez and the mental anguish inflicted by their mother and Ramirez’s girlfriend, Kayla Hudson, did not end even as Paisley laid unmoving in her Pack ‘n Play. The four were living in an Anderson motel.
Late on the night of July 27, Ramirez carried Paisley, who appeared to be sleeping, to their room. Riley was awake but had bruises and what doctors described as “raccoon eyes,” where bruising had gone into his eye sockets.
Hudson went out to buy cream for the bruises.
Hudson then went out for cigarettes and fast food without checking on the 3-year-old. By 6 a.m., when Hudson looked in on the girl, Paisley was cold and stiff. In part, there had been such impact on her that her liver was torn in two places; half of the blood in her body had moved to her abdomen.
Hudson pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. She received a 40-year prison sentence. She testified she pleaded guilty because the state was going to charge her with murder.
Thankfully, the state pursued harsher charges against Ramirez, who was sentenced in Madison Circuit Court 4 to life without parole and a consecutive sentence of 14 years for neglect causing serious injury in connection with Riley’s abuse.
IN ITS RECOMMENDATION of life without parole, the jury found two statutory aggravating factors: a child was murdered, and torture was involved. In part, Ramirez’s appeal challenged that finding. But there was, tragically, evidence to aid the prosecution.
“Because the jury could, from the evidence of P.H.’s injuries, reasonably infer that Ramirez intentionally inflicted ’an appreciable period of pain or punishment’ to indulge a sadistic impulse, the torture aggravator was supported by sufficient evidence,” wrote Chief Justice Loretta Rush in a 28-page decision.
This end result is perhaps the surest way for the state to penalize Ramirez. A harsher sentence might open the way for finding technical errors to help Ramirez’s case. But there were no technicalities to derail the prosecution’s case.
Overriding all of this, of course, is how the murder and abuse will affect young Riley, the 3-year-old who tried to protect his sister.
Maybe in some lane where we can find justice for Paisley, Riley and his future guardians will understand that the best approach to prosecution and the best outcome was intended to keep a bad, sadistic man forever in prison. Through that, maybe Riley will find strength in knowing that adults really did care about him and Paisley.
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson