An inmate charged with first-degree murder and four other felonies on allegations he killed a fellow inmate during a March 2 melee at the Tecumseh state prison made his first appearance Wednesday on the charges.

In a complaint filed a day earlier, Eric Ramos was accused of assaulting and killing Michael Galindo with deliberate and premeditated malice or during an arson and of tampering with evidence.

Prosecutors haven't yet decided if they'll seek the death penalty in his case, according to a news release Tuesday.

Johnson County Judge Steven Timm agreed to seal the arrest warrant affidavit in the case, saying in an order that information in it "could jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation."

A hearing has been set next month to determine if Ramos' public defender should be granted access to the document.

Galindo, 31, and Damon Fitzgerald, 39, were killed in separate incidents during an inmate disturbance at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, sparked by staff discovering and confiscating a footlocker that held 150 pounds of homemade alcohol.

It was the second deadly disruption at the prison in two years.

The Nebraska Attorney General's office said after prison staff re-established order on March 2, they found Galindo lying face down, dead, near a pile of still smoldering combustible materials inside a cell.

An autopsy concluded his death was a homicide and that he had died as a result of smoke inhalation along with multiple sharp and blunt-force injuries.

Ramos, 26, already had been facing a first-degree arson charge for allegedly starting a fire at the prison March 2. At a preliminary hearing earlier this year in that case, an investigator said surveillance video showed Ramos taking a burning piece of cloth to a trash can during the disturbance.

Ramos, who is serving eight to 10 years on criminal mischief, domestic assault and gun charges out of Gage County in 2012, became eligible for parole in January.

No one has been charged yet in Fitzgerald's death, or in the deaths of two other inmates killed in an earlier riot at the same prison.

Suzanne Gage, of the Attorney General's office, said: "Investigative efforts will continue until justice can be obtained for the murder of inmate Damon Fitzgerald, as well as for the May 10, 2015, murders of inmates Donald Peacock and Shon Collins."

Peacock and Collins, both serving time for child sex assaults, were found dead of blunt-force trauma to their heads.


Load comments