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Carla Free—and Deported

Mar 20th, 2010 | Category: Cameron County

By EMMA PEREZ-TREVINO, The Brownsville Herald

Her I.D. # was 60920-279, but after serving more than four years behind bars — with most of the time awaiting trial [in a county jail] — the end of Carla Ramos’ legal troubles came to a quiet end late Thursday when she was deported to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, friends say.

Ramos, 28, was released Thursday from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, agency data confirms.

She arrived by bus in Matamoros early Friday.

Ramos called Valley Christian High School Principal Paul Hanson and his wife Gail Hanson from Matamoros at about 7 a.m.

“She was looking forward to her mom crossing the bridge at Brownsville to Matamoros at 9 a.m. to meet her,” Paul Hanson said. “We are relieved for her and just wonder how well she will adjust living on the outside after more than four years in jail. I don’t think she has much of a support group in Matamoros.”

Ramos’ mother and four children live in Brownsville. Ramos was six months pregnant with her youngest child Esperanza when she was jailed in January 2006.

Ramos had been in county and federal jails since that time.

A jury in April found Ramos not guilty on a state capital murder charge regarding the January 2006 strangulation murder of 76-year-old Carmen Jacobson.

Ramos’ former boyfriend, Alfonso Granados Lucas, strangled Jacobson in her Brownsville house during a robbery while Ramos and her cousin, Jose Luis Gutierrez, were in a car outside, police reports and court testimony reflected.

Granados and Gutierrez pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of murder. Granados is serving a life sentence and Gutierrez, who agreed to testify against Ramos in a plea-agreement with the state, received a ten-year sentence.

Ramos has maintained that she didn’t know what Granados was doing.

In June last year, Ramos pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of burglary of a habitation, garnering a three-year sentence, and State 404th District Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez credited Ramos with time served.

Ed Stapleton, one of Ramos’ attorneys, said at the time that his client pleaded no contest to the lesser charge because she wanted the ordeal to end.

But Ramos is an undocumented immigrant and federal officials took her into custody in April last year for being in the country illegally after having been deported in 2002.

Ramos pleaded guilty in September last year and U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen entered judgment in October, sentencing her to 13 months in jail, most recently spent in a facility in Waco.

Chaplain Gail Hanson, who ministered prisoners for years in the Cameron County jail system before Sheriff Omar Lucio banned her from the jail facilities, befriended Ramos. Gail Hanson has been highlighting the plight of women inmates for years along with school and church friends.

Gail Hanson talked to Ramos on the telephone the night before her release.

“She was fearful, excited, and a little afraid of being dropped off at the bridge, but so anxious to hold her mom and her four babies,” Gail Hanson said. “She has been incredibly resilient and forgiving and faithful, but her experiences have been a nightmare.”

The Herald was unable to contact Jacobson’s family members for comment.

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