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Ramon Salcido: Gruesome Murders in the Wine County of Sonoma County
My Talks with Ramon
I was the Paralegal working inside the Sonoma County jails when Salcido committed the crimes (killing his wife and two children plus others) of April 14, 1989. Once he arrived in the jail, he had wanted access to the law library like many inmates.
It is their right. My job was to help them with writing motions\research etc. Despite his repeated requests, Ramon was denied. The Public Defender was fearful that he might say something to me that would jepardize his case. The District Attorney thought they should only be able to talk to him. There was a jealousy issue between them because he had not been in jail that long.
There was also some political issues happening because of the international aspect, Marteen Miller, the PD, objected strongly that I meet with Ramon and applied pressure on the sheriff (my employer-I was a contract Paralegal) to prevent it. Then, when they found out some "paralegal" was allowed access to this killer because he wanted to use the law library, to them, it was insulting.
Despite their efforts, I met with Ramon many times. I was nervous at first. I found his English broken at best. He wanted to research, or for me to research, some insanity plea based upon the fact (as he told me) he had been doing coke at a bar with friends prior to coming home, he was fairly wasted. He was a jealous guy by nature- a Mexican with a beautiful white
woman is just cause. He was suspicious of any guy staring at her. Kind of like John Lennon was with his first wife, Cynthia (Lennon would confront any bloke staring at her). He told me that when he arrived home early that morning, he walked into the bedroom and found his wife gone. He searched the rooms-not there. Just the kids. Then, she came in from the outside while he was in the kitchen. He told me he thought she had been out with another guy and left the kids alone all night. That is when he went into a rage while still under the influence of coke. Fact was, she had gone to the ATM to withdraw money because she was planning to leave him that day. In a rage, thinking of her with another man, he got a kitchen knife and
stabbed her during a scuffle. He then told me, he just went "loco". Thinking he had killed his wife, he could not stand the thought of his kids with others while he went to jail, he put them in car and went to a dump where he sliced them in the throats, then he just ran.
Only Carmina Salcido (now 23) survived.
He told me that he had no problem crossing the border into Mexico, which
surprised him. As he got close to his hometown, he got on a local bus with a gun in his pocket and blood on his coat and shirt. The gun handle hung out of his pocket. I asked him if anyone asked you questions about all this- I mean it is odd- he said no, some looked, but nobody said or asked anything. At that point, he felt he would be safe for awhile.
I asked him why he did all this? He just said, "I was angry and coked up and lost it". But when I asked about killing his kids who he loved, he just shrugged his shoulders, got a little emotional and said, "I just lost it".
I found him that way. A normal guy with real jealousy issues because of his shaky relationship with his wife, pumped up on drugs from the night before, angry about losing his job, unsure about the future income (they were quite poor) and then bad timing. Bad timing, in that, had she not gone out that early AM to the ATM or had already done it earlier in the day, he would have come home stoned and simply gone to bed and odds are it would not have happened. But, as it played out, stoned on drugs, thinking your wife is cheating, being in the kitchen when she appears from the outside early AM, having a jealousy issue- all played a role that lit the fuse. Tragic. It does not excuse what he did but the guy simply broke down. Some soldiers break under fire and just go "loco".
Ramon did not like the presiding judge, so he used one of the boilerplate forms we had for a motion to remove the judge from the case. Once filed, my job came under fire because he had got it from me and asked me how to fill it out. This was construed as giving legal advice. But, my job duties specifically said to provide inmates with legal help. My contract was not renewed a year later.
Ramon and Carmina may be more similar than she would like. They have the same cold, steel, stone face, which can hide their real feeling well. Much of the talks I had with him were done in a "manner of fact" mode. Little emotion until some remorse about slitting his kids throats slipped out. The guy had a "stiff upper lip" so to speak.
Ramon remains on death row in San Quentin. Do I think he regrets his actions? Even back then, when it came to his kids, I think he did. This was a not a planned, thought out murder on his part but happened because of unrelated events that happened and his own insecurities. Totally unforeseen and the trigger was that early morning. When it comes to his wife, I think there is less regret, things had been on the rocks between them and rage plus jealousy dictated his thought process leading to his action.