Trial for man accused of murdering fellow inmate during prison riot gets underway

Nov. 15, 2023, 6 p.m. ·

Eric Ramos was charged with first degree murder, use of a weapon and tampering with evidence. (Photo by Brian Beach/Nebraska Public Media News)

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Eric Ramos, the man accused of killing a fellow inmate at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in 2017, is back in court after his initial 2018 trial ended in a mistrial.

Opening statements for Ramos’ second trial began Wednesday afternoon at the Saline County Courthouse in Wilber, Nebraska.

Ramos is facing charges of first degree murder, use of a weapon to commit a felony and tampering with evidence in the death of Michael Galindo during a 2017 riot at the state prison in Tecumseh.

Eric Ramos enters the courtroom for opening statements at the Saline County Courthouse Wednesday, Nov. 15 (Photo courtesy of Lori Pilger/Lincoln Journal Star)

According to an autopsy report, Galindo was stabbed more than 130 times, but his official cause of death was listed as asphyxiation from the smoke coming from fires set during the riot.

Prosecuting attorney Ben Beethe said the state’s case would rely on evidence from grainy video surveillance footage.

“Now, you might be saying to yourself, if there is video evidence showing Mr. Ramos killing Mr. Galindo, then why isn't this an open and shut case?” Beethe said. “Members of the jury, I'm sorry to say that things are never usually quite so simple.”

Ramos’ attorney, Tim Nelson, said the footage from the prison riot is “not a good video,” and that Ramos is a victim of misidentification.

Many inmates covered their faces with towels during the riot and Nelson said the state did a poor job of collecting DNA evidence from the crime scene.

The trial is scheduled to continue throughout the next three weeks.