VISTA — Days after a judge delivered a life prison sentence to a former Camp Pendleton Marine for murdering an Oceanside man over a car restoration, a jury is deciding if the other Marine involved is also guilty of first-degree murder for his role in the bloody death.
Former Lance Cpl. Raphael Ramey, 21, was sentenced March 14 to life in prison without parole for the stabbing and beating death of Charles Evan Williams, 23.
Former Pfc. Xavier Akeem Adams, 20, is charged as a co-defendant in the brutal slaying of Williams, which took place on a quiet Sunday in August 2009 in the office of the auto restoration shop Williams owned.
He is also charged with a special circumstance allegation of using a knife and lying in wait.
“They went to see him to slaughter him,” Deputy District Attorney Minaz Bhayani said during closing statements of Adams’ trial on March 17.
Adams and Ramey were both arrested at a residence in Fallbrook the day after the murder, and were apprehended when they tried to enter Williams’ silver Cadillac that was located near the residence.
During the police videotape interview, Ramey admitted to the killing and said he was furious at how long his car was taking to be restored, and felt he was being “punked” by Williams, whom he said kept lying about when the car would be ready.
Ramey said he had paid Williams $12,500 nearly two months ago for the restoration of a 1970 Chevy Impala, and needed his car because he was going on leave to Texas.
He downplayed Adams’ role in the murder.
But Adams admitted to stabbing Williams a couple of times during his statement to police.
Evidence was recovered in the trunk of the Cadillac, which included two bloodstained knives, bloody clothing and shoes, and a picture of the evidence was shown in the courtroom on a large screen.
Bhayani said that everything Adams did was supporting Ramey in Williams’ death.
“You can’t discriminate between a perpetrator and an aider and abetter,” he said to the jury. “This is a singular entity. All Ramey’s actions are attributable to Adams’ and vice versa.”
He said that two weeks before the murder, Ramey was getting angry about the car and talked to Adams about it.
They talked about “jacking” Williams, and Adams told Ramey “I got your back,” Bhayani said.
There was a plan for the day, date, time, location and manner of death, he said.
“They controlled that,” Bhayani said.
An appointment was rescheduled from a Saturday to a Sunday to see Williams at his shop, Classic Luxury Street Concepts, and have him sign a fake contract to ship the Impala to Texas when it was finished.
The plan was to get Williams and trap him — and Ramey brought two knives he had purchased at Wal-Mart, and brought Adams along to the appointment for added
He said Ramey waited and watched for an opportunity to act, and when Williams sat down at his desk to work on the contract, Ramey gave a signal to Adams, who was guarding the door.
Then the stabbing began by Ramey with the first jab being at Williams’ throat, Bhayani said.
He was stabbed more than 50 times.
Adams was the very last hope that Williams had, as he begged for his life, which included mentioning that he was a father and had a son, Bhayani said.
But Adams stabbed him also, with a blade that went all the way to the bone, Bhayani said.
Defense Attorney Matt Mohun said to the jury that he hoped they found Adams guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder.
“There’s no dispute that Adams was not the actual killer,” he said. “We all know who is.”
He said the evidence supports the lack of required intent for the more serious charge, and asked for the jury to think about whether the murder would have happened if Ramey had done nothing.
He argued that his client aided and abetted because of a sudden quarrel and acted rashly without due deliberation.