A man convicted of running over his girlfriend and pinning her against their mobile home will receive a new trial after the 3rd Court of Appeal vacated his manslaughter conviction and sentence.
Victor Luis Avila Ramos was sentenced in 2019 to 35 years in prison for causing the death of Lauren Elizabeth Guidry, who died two days after the crash.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said Guidry was leaving their home in the LeBleu Mobile Home Park on May 22, 2017, when an argument ensued between her and Ramos.
In a recorded statement to Det. Roland Jones before her death, Guidry said Ramos “put the car in drive and put his foot down to the pedal and smashed (her)” between the mobile home and his car.
Jones said Guidry’s body was crushed from the waist down and she was bleeding internally.
She was initially brought to a Lake Charles hospital with extensive injuries and was later transferred to a Lafayatte trauma center where she died.
Deputies testified that while investigating the crime scene, Ramos rode up on a four-wheeler and freely gave them his name.
While no vehicles found at the scene were damaged, the mobile home’s skirting and door were and tire marks on the driveway corroborated Guidry’s statement.
Jones testified a maroon vehicle with damage to its front passenger side bumper and headlight was later located in a gated parking area for the mobile home’s mini storage business.
Ramos, who does not speak English, elected to represent himself at the trial with the use of a translator. He was also provided a stand-by counsel. He did not testify at the trial or present witnesses, but did cross examine witnesses for the prosecution.
After five hours of deliberations, a jury convicted Ramos 10-2 of manslaughter and obstruction.
In his appeal, Ramos argued his manslaughter conviction was unconstitutional in light of the Ramos v. Louisiana case because it was not a unanimous verdict. Ramos v. Louisiana was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the court ruled 6-3 that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution requires guilty verdicts for criminal trials be unanimous. Only cases in Louisiana and Oregon were affected by the ruling because other states already had this requirement.
The 3rd Circuit agreed with Ramos’ appeal, stating the Ramos v. Louisiana case was still being decided when Victor Luis Avila Ramos was sentenced and ordered he receive a new trial.
Written by Crystal Stevenson