The Amsterdam man who stabbed Cheryl Goss and William McDermott to death in their Locust Avenue apartment is appealing his life sentence.
Ivan Ramos, 31, was found guilty of the March 2, 2012, murders after a two-week trial early this year. He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole just more than a year after the murders.
On May 9, he filed an appeal in Montgomery County Court, which won’t be put to rest for at least another year.
District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy will argue Ramos’ guilt for the second time, while victims’ family members face the outside chance of an overturned conviction.
While Ramos sits in the Attica Correctional Facility, a lawyer will be appointed to his case and required to compile a record on appeal, which is “basically everything that went into the case,” Conboy said. “I have two banker’s boxes of papers, and that’s not even any of the physical evidence.”
All of those papers will have to be compiled by Ramos’ yet-to-be-appointed lawyer. Conboy will then check to make sure everything is in order before Ramos’ lawyer can file the appeal — a process that will likely take six months.
“Then he’ll have to file an appellate brief,” Conboy said, “stating what Ramos thinks we did wrong and why his conviction should be overturned or his sentence modified.”
In about a year, the case will come before the Appellate Division Court in Albany, where both sides will argue before a judge. According to Conboy, it’s a very long and difficult process, which is why he usually tries to secure a guilty plea rather than a conviction.
When Matt Phelps and Anthony Brasmeister recently pleaded guilty to murdering two other boys, they signed away their right to an appeal.
“With a plea, you get an admission of guilt,” he said. “That’s important for the families. With a trial, even with a conviction, someone will say they were framed.”
Even if Ramos’ appeal is successful, he still faces a 25-year prison term for a previous, unrelated home invasion.
Conboy wasn’t surprised by the appeal.
“Let me put this in perspective,” he said. “When you’re going through the grocery store checkout, you expect them to ask you for money. If you get a trial conviction, you expect an appeal.”
By law, the process is free for Ramos. Plus, Conboy said, “He’s in prison. He has nothing but time.”