State prosecutors seeking to keep sentence, conviction in two separate murder cases

Barry Jones
Barry Jones(Arizona Department of Correction)
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 4:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - State prosecutors on Friday, July 16 filed a brief in the United states Supreme Court to reinstate the death sentence of a man convicted of a 1989 murder and reinstate the conviction of another man in a separate murder case, they announced in a news release.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said they argued in the brief for the reinstatement of the death sentence for David Ramirez and the conviction of Barry Jones.

The Arizona Supreme Court had regularly denied the appeals of both, prosecutors said, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned Ramirez’s sentence and granted Jones a new trial.

“Convicted killers use the court system to delay their sentences for decades, while the victims’ families continue to suffer,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich was quoted as saying. “I will continue to vigorously fight for justice for the victims, their families, and our communities.”

Ramirez was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1989 double murder of Mary Ann Gortarez and her 15-year-old daughter, stabbing them both numerous times and sexually assaulting the 15-year-old girl as she was close to death.

The federal appeals court ruled that his attorneys failed to present evidence of Ramirez’ “truly deplorable childhood” and an intellectual disability.

Jones is accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend’s four-year-old daughter in 1994. The girl died due to an abdominal organ infection caused by blunt force trauma that had been inflicted the day before her death.

Jones allegedly did nothing to help the girl as her condition worsened and lied to his concerned friends, telling them she’d been examined by paramedics. After the girl died, Jones allegedly drove her and her mother to the hospital and left them there.

The court ruled Jones’ attorneys did not present medical evidence that the injuries that killed the girl could have been inflicted days before her death, instead of her final hours, when she was under his care.

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