Attorneys give closing arguments, jurors deliberate in Ramos murder trial

Dec. 11, 2023, 6 p.m. ·

Eric Ramos enters the courtroom for closing statements Monday, Dec. 1, 2023. Ramos is charged with killing an inmate during a 2017 prison riot in Tecumseh. (Photo by Lori Pilger/Lincoln Journal Star)

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After a month-long trial involving hours of surveillance video and surprise testimony from the defendant himself, attorneys made their final arguments in the trial of Eric Ramos Monday morning.

Ramos is charged with killing fellow inmate Michael Galindo during a prison riot at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in 2017.

Prosecuting attorney Corey O’Brien presented the state’s case and said the video evidence of Galindo’s death was enough to charge Ramos with first-degree murder.

“You have been privy to circumstantial evidence, a considerable amount of it, showing that among the many attackers of Michael Galindo was that man right there: the defendant, Eric Ramos,” O’Brien told jurors.

Earlier in the trial, the state called corrections worker Tatiana De Los Santos to testify and she said she could identify Ramos as the attacker in the surveillance video with 100% certainty, based on a variety of physical attributes.

However, defense attorney Tim Noerrlinger pushed back against De Los Santos’ testimony in his closing argument.

“There is evidence to suggest that Ms. De Los Santos is making the identification, naming Mr. Ramos as a suspect before she's even got this video,” Noerrlinger said. “I would suggest to you it's confirmation bias.”

The defense also criticized the Nebraska State Patrol for failing to take DNA and blood samples from clothing and weapons left at the scene.

“The remainder of this investigation had fatal flaws in it,” Noerrlinger said. “Unfortunately, for everyone involved, including Mr. Galindo and his family, those fatal flaws caused problems with being able to identify individuals and identify suspects.”

Noerrlinger also went through more than 200 photos of inmates taken in the aftermath of the riot, noting that while many had soot and blood on their clothing, Ramos did not.

In his final rebuttal, O’Brien told the jury to simply focus on video evidence.

“They're trying to get you not to put the focus where it belongs, and that’s on the video,” he said.

Jurors received the case after 2 p.m. Monday and a final verdict is expected to come this week.