Monday, April 7, 2014
AUSTIN – Pursuant to an order entered by the 216th District Court in Kerr County, Ramiro Hernandez a/k/a Ramiro Hernandez Llanas is scheduled for execution after 6 p.m. on April 9, 2014.
In 2000, a Bandera County jury found Hernandez guilty of murdering Glen Lich during the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of sexual assault of Lera Lich, and while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of robbery of Lera Lich, and while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of burglary of a habitation of Lera Lich with intent to commit theft and sexual assault.
FACTS OF THE CRIME
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas described the murder as follows (citations omitted):
Beginning late on the evening of October 14, 1997 and continuing into the early morning hours of October 15, 1997, petitioner bludgeoned to death his employer Glen Lich with a metal bar, then ransacked the Lich residence and repeatedly sexually assaulted Lich’s wife at knife-point.
Mrs. Lich testified at length during petitioner’s trial concerning petitioner’s activities on the night of her husband’s murder. She recounted, without contradiction by petitioner or any other witness, that (1) she met the petitioner when he arrived at the Lich residence in July 1997 to assist a carpenter who was helping to renovate the ranch house and other buildings, (2) petitioner worked at the Lich residence for about three weeks, (3) months later, around the beginning of October, 1997, petitioner telephoned her husband and negotiated an arrangement in which petitioner received room and board at the Lich residence in exchange for assisting Mr. Lich and others who were continuing the renovations, (4) on October 14, 1997, after petitioner had been staying at the Lich residence for about ten days, petitioner knocked on the door of the Lich bedroom around ten p.m. and Glen Lich went outside to talk with petitioner, (5) not long thereafter, Mrs. Lich looked up from reading the paper and saw petitioner on the porch outside the bedroom, (6) petitioner opened the door and entered the bedroom, covered in blood and holding a knife in his hand, (7) petitioner approached Mrs. Lich, held the knife to her neck, tore off her glasses, pulled off her clothes, and forced her on to the bed, (8) petitioner undressed himself and proceeded to have non-consensual […] intercourse with Mrs. Lich while holding the knife to her neck, […] (9) Mrs. Lich, who speaks very little Spanish tried to communicate with petitioner while she was being sexually assaulted but was only able to understand a few words petitioner spoke in English, (10) when she asked about her husband, petitioner responded in English with phrases such as “five hours,” “Laredo,” “five thousand dollars,” “ten thousand dollars,” and “my brother,” and in Spanish with “fifteen thousand dollars, then your husband will be back,” (11) after twice sexually assaulting Mrs. Lich, petitioner escorted her to the bathroom where he held her at knife point […], (12) petitioner then took her back to the bedroom, where he wrote down the numbers “10,000” and “15,000” on a piece of paper, (13) petitioner placed or attempted to place several telephone calls, finally reaching someone with whom petitioner had an angry conversation in Spanish, (14) petitioner then tore a towel into strips and tied Mrs. Lich […] to the bed and covered her face with a blanket, (15) Mrs. Lich was nonetheless able to see out of a corner of the blanket and witnessed petitioner ransacking the bedroom, placing jewelry and other items in a plastic bag, (16) in Spanish, petitioner threatened Mrs. Lich’s elderly mother, who was asleep nearby in a separate bedroom, (17) petitioner removed the blanket from Mrs. Lich and asked for the keys to the Lich’s Jeep, (18) Mrs. Lich nodded in the direction of the keys, (19) petitioner went outside and started the Jeep but, after a few minutes, turned off the engine, came back inside, and tied Mrs. Lich […] even more securely to the bed with wires, (20) petitioner made a second series of telephone calls, after which he yanked all the phones in the room off the hook, (21) then, petitioner went outside for a period of time, (22) petitioner came back inside, rummaged throughout the bedroom again, then untied Mrs. Lich and raped her at least two more times at knife point, (23) during the second series of sexual assaults, petitioner wore Glen Lich’s watch, Mrs. Lich’s grandmother’s wedding ring, and several of Mrs. Lich’s necklaces, (24) when Mrs. Lich asked petitioner about her husband, petitioner replied “two hours Laredo,” asked her if she wanted to live longer, instructed her not to call the police, and indicated she would see her husband again if she gave petitioner the money he had demanded, (25) petitioner threatened Mrs. Lich’s elderly mother and Mrs. Lich’s daughter, the latter by name, and (26) at one point, petitioner gestured with a syringe motion and said it was “okay with me.”
Lera Lich survived petitioner’s repeated sexual assaults and, when petitioner fell asleep following the second wave of such assaults, slipped out of his grasp and made her way to a neighboring residence in rural Kerr County. When sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Lich residence, they found petitioner sound asleep on the bed. When the sheriff’s deputies woke petitioner, he violently resisted arrest but was eventually subdued and arrested.
Shortly after petitioner’s arrest, Kerr County Sheriff’s personnel took Lera Lich to the hospital, where a sexual assault kit was collected.
Law enforcement officials searched the Lich residence and found Glen Lich’s body near a generator building. His skull had been battered beyond recognition.
On the morning of October 15, 1997, after having been given his Miranda warnings in Spanish, petitioner gave an audiotape recorded statement in Spanish to law enforcement officials in which he identified himself as “Reuben Salinas.” On the afternoon of the same day, when confronted again by law enforcement officers and given a second set of Miranda warnings in Spanish, petitioner admitted his name was Ramiro Hernandez and gave a second audiotape recorded statement in Spanish. As he had in his first statement, in his second statement, petitioner admitted he had struck Glen Lich “once” with a metal bar but, in his second statement, petitioner admitted for the first time that he had sexually assaulted Mrs. Lich “once.” Both of petitioner’s recorded statements and English translations of same were admitted into evidence during his examining trial but neither statement nor any transcription of same was offered or admitted into evidence during petitioner’s subsequent capital murder trial.
PRIOR CRIMINAL HISTORY
Under Texas law, the rules of evidence prevent certain prior criminal acts from being presented to a jury during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. However, once a defendant is found guilty, jurors are presented information about the defendant’s prior criminal conduct during the second phase of the trial – which is when they determine the defendant’s punishment.
The State presented evidence that Hernandez was previously convicted of murder in Mexico and escaped from prison into Texas.
The State also presented testimony that Hernandez had stabbed a man in a Kerrville bar and that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl.
In November 1997, a Kerr County grand jury indicted Hernandez for murdering Glen Lich during the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of sexual assault of Lera Lich, and while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of robbery of Lera Lich, and while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense of burglary of a habitation of Lera Lich with intent to commit theft and sexual assault.
A Bandera County jury found Hernandez guilty of capital murder. After the jury recommended capital punishment, the court sentenced Hernandez to death. Judgment was entered Feb. 10, 2000.
On Dec. 18, 2002, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected Hernandez’s direct appeal and affirmed his conviction and sentence.
On June 27, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.
Hernandez also sought to appeal his conviction and sentence by filing an application for a state writ of habeas corpus with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. On Sept. 10, 2008, the appeals court denied Hernandez’s application for state habeas relief.
On Sept. 8, 2009, Hernandez filed a subsequent writ application in state court.
On Sept. 9, 2009, Hernandez attempted to appeal his conviction and sentence in the federal district court for the Western District of Texas. He also filed a motion to stay and abate.
On Nov. 25, 2009, the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the second writ citing the abstention doctrine.
On Jan. 15, 2010, the federal court agreed to stay and abate federal proceedings and Hernandez returned to state court to file his third state writ application.
On March 3, 2010, the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed this writ.
On Sept. 23, 2011, the federal district court denied the petition for federal writ of habeas corpus.
On Aug. 2, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s determination of Hernandez’s mental retardation claim and denied his request for certificate of appealability on additional issues.
On Dec. 20, 2013, Hernandez filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. The petition is currently pending.
On March 31, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on Hernandez’s petition.
For additional information and statistics, please go to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website, www.tdcj.state.tx.us.