Man who shot ex-wife and friend found guilty

Jose Luis Ramos

Faces life in prison

SANTA CRUZ — A man who shot his ex-wife and her friend multiple times in a December 2016 attack was found guilty Friday after a jury trial, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosell announced.

Former Watsonville resident Jose Luis Ramos, 33, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on May 1. He has been in custody at Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Prosecutors say that Ramos approached his ex-wife, Maria Elena Rocha, and her friend Santiago Avalos as they were sitting in a car near the corner of Soquel Drive at North Rodeo Gulch Road.

He pulled out a gun and shot Avalos twice, and then turned the gun on Rocha and shot her three times. Avalos was declared dead at the scene.

He was arrested early the next day on the 3000 block of Porter Street in Soquel.

Rocha survived the multiple gunshot wounds and testified at trial.

In a prepared statement, Rosell expressed condolences for Avalos’ family and commended Rocha.

“I want to praise the courage of Maria Elena Rocha for testifying at trial and facing the man who stalked and shot her in court,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Charlie Baum praised the collaboration that led to the jury’s decision.

“The conviction of Mr. Ramos would not have been possible without the coordinated investigation of the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office Inspectors and the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office,” he said.


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